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Charles P.. Corning 

St. Mary's-in-tlie Mountains 
Littleton, N. H. 




From Photo by Thomas Fall. By permission of Mrs. Aubrey Le Blond (formerly Mrs. 

Fred Burnaby). 


h %' 





Author of " The Life of Edward Fitz Gerald," " The Life of Sir Richard Burton, 
" The Life of Walter Pater," etc., etc. 





Printed by William J. McKenzie, 
at the Devonshire Press, Torquay. 


■ **0 

This Work 
is dedicated, by kind permission, 


Mrs. Aubrey Le Blond, 

formerly Mrs. Fred Barnaby. 


It has generally been assumed that the age of Romance, 
in so far as England is concerned, disappeared with the 
last of the Plantagenets, and that Henry the Seventh's 
Coronation Service was at once its farewell and requiem ; 
but a more romantic career than that of Frederick Gus- 
tavus Burnaby, though it was passed in the reign of 
Victoria, can scarcely be conceived. He was a Coeur- 
de-Lion in physique, strength, courage, and magnanim- 
ity ; and though he lived in what he himself regarded as 
a tame and pusillanimous era, when Englishmen were 
inclined to surrender without protest to the first bully 
who presented himself the benefits which had come down 
to them from their clearer-eyed and more heroic fathers, 
he managed to crowd into a life of only forty-two years 
as many exciting incidents, accompanied by hair-breadth 
escapes, as would have satisfied even a Knight Templar. 
Moreover, the stirring events of that life follow one 
another with the rapidity of a swiftly moving panorama ; 
brave deed succeeding brave deed, until lastly there comes 
the most thrilling scene of all — the terrible passage at 
arms on the field of Abou Klea — and the hero dead. 

' He was the only man whom I have ever met," says 
his old Harrow friend, Mr. H. H. Finch, " who was totally 
devoid of fear." 

To Burnaby stagnation was insufferable. For years 
he was one of the most popular men in England. He 
united in his person precisely those qualities which 
Englishmen most admire. Of a fertile invention, 
he never hesitated to take the initiative. He was 
perspicacious, determined, resourceful, tenacious, amaz- 
ingly daring. His audacity again and again catches the 


breath. He had decided opinions, and he expressed 
them with a soldier's emphasis. Thanks to his keen 
sense of the ridiculous, he met the onslaughts of his 
political opponents with a good humour that blunted 
every shaft. In a certain sense he belonged to the rank 
and file ; for he never had opportunities of commanding 
great bodies of men, either in the field or from the senate. 
If England could breed a million men like him — with a 
Titan's frame and strength, a Creighton's hunger for 
knowledge, and a Roland's passion for adventure — 
what would not England, with all her present lustihood, 
yet become ! We need not ask ourselves whether Burnaby 
was a great man. His was certainly an amazing person- 
ality. It has been observed that there was no great 
man, in the ordinary sense of the term, in Nelson's fleet — 
save Nelson — and yet what work those rare old sea dogs 
did for England. Whether on the way to Khiva or 
among the Devil Worshippers of Armenia ; whether 
bearding Mr. Chamberlain in his iron den or picking off 
Arabs at El Teb, he was always the same cheery, deter- 
mined, courageous, rash, and deadly-earnest Burnaby. 
" He was one of the very best and kindest officers," says 
Sir John Willoughby " whom it has been my privilege 
to serve." The fox-hunting parson and the squire's 
daughter have not of late years been smothered with 
eulogy ; but at any rate they bred Burnabys, or men 
of the Burnaby type, and for them England has had 
work to do which they, and perhaps only they, were 
really capable of doing. 

Although no polished writer, Burnaby produced bright, 
humorous and important books, and for many genera- 
tions to come Englishmen will read with pleasure the 
account of the most famous of his rides, that in which he 
penetrated, amid dangers that might well have deterred 
a Bayard, the mysterious region of Khiva. " His Ride to 
Khiva," says Lord Roberts,* "excited my admiration at 
the time, and I regretted that such an enterprising officer 

* In a letter written in January 1908 to Colonel Burnaby 's brother. 


should have been cut off so early in life." Equal in inter- 
est is On Horseback through Asia Minor. There is no 
more picturesque couple in history or fiction than Burn- 
aby and his devoted henchman, George Radford. 

This work has been written with the entire sympathy 
and the most kind assistance of Colonel Burnaby's 
family. Mrs. Le Blond (formerly Mrs. Fred Burnaby), 
Mr. Harry Burnaby (Burnaby's only son), the Rev. 
Evelyn Burnaby, M.A. (Burnaby's only brother), and 
Mrs. Baillie (his only surviving sister), have all helped 
in various ways. Letters and other documents have 
been placed ungrudgingly at my disposal ; moreover — 
boon, indeed, to biographer — I have been allowed an 
absolutely free hand. I recall with pleasure an interview 
with Mrs. Le Blond,and I have to thank her for a number 
of letters containing important clues. The Rev. Evelyn 
Burnaby has been indefatigable in his enquiries on my 
behalf, and I owe to him many an illuminating fact, 
many a piquant anecdote. 

Mrs. Duncan Baillie placed in my hands a number 
of her brother's letters ; and Don Carlos, Duke of Madrid 
— one of Burnaby's closest friends — kindly replied to 
various queries. 

If Burnaby added to our Geographical Knowledge, 
he also deserves our gratitude on account of his efforts 
in behalf of aeronautics. He was the one strong man 
who stood up and struggled for aeronautics at a period 
when the balloon was regarded as a toy, and the whole 
subject was treated with levity, not only by the general 
public, but also by men in authority. His purse and his 
brain were alike at the service of his beloved science. 
People at the present day have not the faintest idea 
of the tremendous battle the aerostat had to fight in the 
sixties, seventies, and even the eighties ; but the efforts 
of Burnaby and the little band associated with him 
will not be forgotten when England has her fleets in the 
firmament, as well as on the high seas. 

My account of Burnaby's connection with ballooning 



has been compiled partly from his book A Ride Across the 
Channel, and partly from Mr. J. W. Prowse's articles 
in the Daily Telegraph ; but my mainstay under this head 
has been my kinsman and almost life-long friend, Mr. 
Thomas Wright, the distinguished aeronaut, who for 
many years was intimately connected with Burnaby ; 
while his elder daughter has often lightened my labours 
by services performed very cheerfully, though at no little 
inconvenience to herself. 

If Burnaby was a Colossus in stature, a Milo in strength, 
a soldier and an aeronaut, he was also a remarkable 
linguist, being able to speak fluently no fewer than seven 
languages, including Spanish, Arabic, Russian, and Turk- 

The story of that ding-dong fight — Burnaby's attack 
on Birmingham— with its humours and its sequel, will 
also, I think, deeply interest the public. Llad he lived 
only a few years longer he and Mr. Chamberlain would 
have found themselves in the same camp ; and the shafts 
forged for the breasts of each other would have been dis- 
charged, shoulder brushing shoulder, at the common 

For the story of Burnaby's political career I am in- 
debted to Mr. J. Percival Hughes, of the Central Conserv- 
ative Office, Westminster, who was Burnaby's secretary, 
Sir Benjamin Stone, Sir James Sawyer, Mr. Joseph Row- 
lands, and Mr. Robert Buckley. Sir Benjamin Stone 
kindly placed at my disposal the documents relating 
to the early days of the Primrose League, of which 
Burnaby was one of the founders. No one previously 
had had access to these papers, consequently the story 
of the founding of the Primrose League is now told 
in its entirety for the first time. 

Still, the salient fact in Burnaby's story is that he 
died for England ; and if a man dies for his country it 
does not behove his compatriots to attempt to belittle 
him just because he happened not to be politically at one 
with them. The whole of the Liberal party — to their 


honour — took this view at the time of Burnaby's death. 
All Englishmen now cherish Burnaby's memory, as 
they cherish the memory of Gordon and other unselfish 
heroes. To think of such men is to be moved to the very 
centre, to be lifted above ourselves, to recall with pride 
that we too are of their stock and nationality. It must 
strike even the most cursory reader in respect to the fights 
of El Teb and Abou Klea — that they were more like 
Homeric battles than incidents in modern warfare. 
Herbert Stewart, Burnaby and others stand out scarcely 
less conspicuously than the most illustrious heroes 
before Troy Town ; which shows that personality counts 
for nearly as much in the days of the machine-gun when 
you fight for England as it did in the old time, when 
" shields jostled shields, and lances lances crossed," all 
for the sake of a wanton. 

England's indebtedness to Burnaby as a soldier is 
brought out very forcibly in a letter written to me by 
Mr. Thomas Gibson Bowles — Burnaby's bosom friend — 
whom I had the pleasure of meeting in London, and who 
has since rendered me much valuable help. It is 
headed Khartoum under date 26th January, 1908, 
and it runs as follows : 
Dear Sir, 

It is a strange and sad coincidence that your letter 
should have followed me to find me in Khartoum — 
the Khartoum for which, and for Gordon, my dear friend 
gave his life twenty-three years ago. At the time it seemed 
to have been given uselessly and his blood to have been 
poured with no effect on the unslakable desert. Yet it 
was not so. For the misdeeds of those who sent out 
Gordon and refused him the aid he asked for in any one 
of the ways he asked for it, the blunders of those who con- 
ceived and carried out the expedition that failed at Abou 
Klea, the sacrifice of the precious lives there lost — 
these it was that bred in England that stern silent deter- 
mination that led to the other and better effort that suc- 
ceeded, and all too tardily carried out Gordon's injunction 


to " smash the Mahdi." And if to the spirits of Burnaby 
and Herbert Stewart and the unnamed who fell with them, 
it be given to see Khartoum now — Khartoum peaceful, 
prosperous, and growing under the Union Jack, they 
would say " It was not in vain we gave our lives, it was 
for this." 

Yet the sadness of Khartoum is great to me — for Gor- 
don was a friend of mine too, and when he fell a light 
went out such as had never before been, nor ever after 
will be, lit in modern England. The whole splendid 
blaze of English history shines not so bright and pure. 
With no king, statesman, soldier or prophet, can he be 
matched who outmatches them all together ; and though 
what he did was and is but one tenth known, and his 
name even but one half remembered and fading, yet some 
portion of his truly Divine spirit lives in the men of his 
generation, consciously and unconsciously inspired by 
him, lives and, please God, will spread and grow till it 
shall make England what she should be — the light of the 
world in its dark places. For that he gave his life and, 
however it seem, that too was not given in vain. 

Sincerelv vours, 

Thos. Gibson Bowles. 

My account of the battle of Abou Klea has been built 
up from letters and other documents supplied me by 
Lord Dundonald, Colonel Marling, V.C., Trooper George 
Murray, and other soldiers who were near Burnaby when 
he fell; while Mr. Bennet Burleigh* and Mr. Melton 
Prior, one of whose pictures we are able to reproduce, 
have also kindly furnished particulars of interest. ' I 
shall never forget Burnaby's charming personality, 
coolness and kindness," says Mr. Prior, " and the mar- 
vellous courage he exhibited when he dashed out from 
the square at Abou Klea to save the lives of two men, 
and lost his own in doing so. Those two men, if now alive, 
ought to be able to testify (on their knees) to his sacrificing 

*I have, of course, made use of Mr. Burleigh's account of the battle 
which appeared in the Daily Telegraph for January 22nd, 1885. 


pluck and daring. I am not a writer like Bennet Bur- 
leigh, but I feel what I write." 

To Lieutenant-Colonel Lord Binning I am indebted 
for a most moving narrative (written for me at the re- 
quest of the Rev. Evelyn Burnaby), for a plan of the 
battle, and also for a number of letters, including the 
following : 


Kelso, N.B. 
Dear Mr. Burnaby, 

I send you my MS. in the hope of its being found 
serviceable. I will send an old photo of '85 in a few days, 
as you have so flatteringly asked me to, and shall be 
very pleased that it should appear in a book which will 
be widely read, and I am sure appreciated. 

May I make this one stipulation ? i.e., that it may be 
taken verbatim as written, with all faults of grammar and 
diction, as I have attempted to write the true unvarnished 
history and account of a memorable fight from a point of 
vantage which probably few had, as I was out till the 
last moment rallying the rear face of the square, and 
the accounts of newspaper men who were not actually 
on the field, as also those of Sir C. Wilson and Count 
Gleichen must, from their positions in the field, have 
been written to a great extent from hearsay. The im- 
plication that the men of the Heavies gave way or allowed 
the square to be broken is one which should certainly be 
set at rest once for ever. 

Believe me, 
Yours very sincerely, 


I have to thank Sir Francis Burnand for the section 
(No. 52) entitled " Concerning Absalom "; Mr. John Payne 
for writing specially for this book a fine sonnet on Burn- 
aby ; Mr. H.W. Lucy (Toby M.P. of Punch) for permission 
to use the particulars of the balloon ascent recorded in 
Chapter VI. ; the Rev. G. E. Britten, Vicar of Somerby, 
for various information and the loan of photographs ; Mr. 


Stephen Solly, for the account of the visit to the Vienna 
Exhibition ; Sir Redvers Buller, for replies to queries 
respecting the Nile Expedition ; and Mr. Henry Storey, 
for particulars of the battles of El Teb, at both of which 
he was present. I am indebted for miscellaneous inform- 
ation to the Earl of Erroll, Mr. Thomas Davie, of Somer- 
by, who lent me some of Burnaby's letters ; the Head- 
master of Harrow, the Rev. R. Nutt, Miss Rose, Miss 
Hornsby, the Rev. Paul Wyatt, and Mr. Robert Haskins, 
of Bedford. I have to thank the Editors of Punch, the 
Illustrated London News, The Graphic, The Strand Maga- 
zine, for use of illustrations ; and Mr. H. Pilter, proprietor 
of the Birmingham Dart, for the use of a very interesting 
series of political cartoons, which appeared in that period- 
ical. The good-natured satire of The Bart has for many 
years been the amusement of the Midlands, and the 
clever cartoons of Mr. Mountfort, who I am glad to say 
is still living, and Mr. G. F. Sershall, are prized by collec- 
tors. Lastly, I owe particular thanks to the Proprietors 
of The Owl, for permission to use cartoons from that 
paper, and to the courtesy of Mr. C. J. Moore Martin, 
who kindly replied to my questions concerning them. 

The following is, I believe, a complete list of those 
who have helped me, and I wish to express to each my 
hearty thanks : 

Mrs. Duncan Baillie, (formerly Miss Annie Burnaby), Mr. Duncan 
Baillie, Mr. Charles Bayley, Lieutenant Colonel Lord Binning, Mr. A. C. 
Bishop, Mr. J. Blaiberg, Mr. T. Gibson Bowles, Rev. G. E. Britten, 
Mr. Robert J. Buckley, Sir Redvers Buller, Rev. Evelyn Burnaby, Sir 
Francis Burnand, Mr. Frank Chater, Rev. Arthur Cross, Mr. Thomas 
Davie, Mr. William Davis, The Earl of Erroll, Mr. William Field, Mr. 
H. N. Field, Rev. J. E. Gilbert, Mr. Charles Godfry, Mr. R. Haskins, 
Mr. T. W. E. Higgins, Miss Hornsby, Mr. J. Percival Hughes, Mrs. 
Le Blond (formerly Mrs. Fred Burnaby), Mr. Charles Litchfield, Mr. 
Henry W. Lucy, Mr. Gilbert Mackenzie, Colonel Percival Marling, Mr. 
J. C. Moss, Mr. George Murray, Mr. Henry W. Nutt, Rev. R. Nutt, Mr. 
George Rose Norton, Mr. Herbert Page, Mr. Walter Pepys, Rev. J. T. W. 
Petley, Rev. John Pickford, Mr. H. Pilter, Mr. B. Redstone, Field 
Marshall Lord Roberts, Rev. F. Roberts, Mr. Frederick Rolls, Miss 
Emma Rose, Mr. Joseph Rowlands, Sir James Sawyer, Sir John 
Willoughby, Mr. K L. Shepherd, Mr. A. Shaken, Miss K. Simkin, 
Mr. Stephen Solly, Sir Benjamin Stone, Mr. H. Storey, Mr. Stephen 
Webber, Mr. Walter Wisdom, Rev. Canon Wright, Mr. Thomas Wright 
(the aeronaut). Miss Bessie Wright, and the Rev. Paul Wyatt. 


I have been indebted to the following works : 

Baker Pasha, War in Bulgaria, 2 vols., 1879. 

Bnrnaby (Colonel Fred), His Works. See Appendix I. 

Burnaby (Rev. Evelyn), Memories of Famous Trials, 
Land's End to John 0' Groat's House. 

Coxwell (Henry), My Life and Balloon Experiences, 1887. 

Gordon, Life of General. W. P. Nimmo. 

Gordon, Colonel, in Central Africa, 1874-1879. Edited 
by G. Birkbeck Hill. 

Graphic, The, 31st January, 1885. 

Mann (R.K.), The Life, Adventures and Political Opin- 
ions of Frederick Gustavus Burnaby, 1882. 

Nevill, Lady Dorothy, The Reminiscences of, 1906. 

Nevill, Lady Dorothy, Leaves from the Note-Books of, 

Ware (J. Redding) and Mann (R.K.), The Life and Times 
of Colonel Fred Burnaby. 

Wolff, Sir Henry Drummond, Rambling Recollections, 


3rd March, 1842 — 30th September, 1859 



i . Childhood at Bedford ...... l 

2. Bedford in the Forties ------ 5 

3. St. Peter's Church : Letters, Bedford Grammar School (1849) 7 

4. "A respectable middle-aged man " - - - - 16 

5. Tinwell (May, 1852), and Harrow (Jan., 1855) - - - 19 

6. Oswestry : The Goose ------ 22 

7. Dresden : He joins the Blues - - - - 25 


30th September, 1859 — 31st December, 1867 


8. A Balloon Ascent from Cremorne, 21st July, 1864 - - 29 

9. A Descent at Bedford, July 1864 - - - 33 

10. Feats of Strength - 34 

11. A Shooting Fracas, about 1865 - - - - _ 39 

12. The Rev. Gustavus removes to Somerby, 2nd June, 1866 - 39 

13. An Accident in the Air, 1S67 ----- 42 

14. Schwalback : The militant Pole - - - - - 45 

1 st January, 1868— November, 1870 


15. Mr. T. Gibson Bowles : Vanity Fair, 7th November, 1868 - 47 

16. At Pau, 16th December, 1868 ----- 48 

17. In Seville, nth January, 1869 - - - - 50 

18. Burnaby as a Troubadour, 1 8th February, 1869 - 51 

19. At a Tentadero ------- ^ 2 

20. The Moorish Dancing Girls, 17th March, 1869 - - 56 



December, 1870 — November, 1874 



21. In Russia, December 1870 ----- 59 

22. With the Prince of Wales to Vienna, May 1872 - 61 

23. Death of the Rev. Gustavus Burnaby, 15th July, 1872 - - 63 

24. George Radford : Illness at Naples - - - 64 

25. In the Carlist War : Autumn, 1874 - - - - 68 

1st November, 1874 — February, 1875 


26. A scientific Balloon Ascent, 3rd November, 1874 : Mr. Thomas 

Wright ------- 75 

27. The Journey to Sobat, November, 1874— 5th February, 1875 - 81 

28. Gordon, 7th February, 1875 ----- 85 

February, 1875 — -February, 1876 


29. To Kasala, 30th November, 1875 - - - - 87 

30. Across the Desert to Khiva - - 95 

31. Khiva and its Khan ------ 100 

February, 1876 — November, 1876 


32. An Ascent with Captain Colvile and Mr. H. W. Lucy, 25th 

August, 1875 - - - - - - 109 

33. Ascents with Mr. Wright and others - - - - in 

November, 1876 — Spring, 1877 


34. Burnaby and Radford set out on their travels - - - 115 

35. Mohammed - - - - - - I2 3 

36. Among the Devil Worshippers ----- 126 

37. Burnaby prescribes for a Persian lady - - - 128 


Spring, 1877 — February, 1878 


38. Burnaby and Radford proceed to the seat of the War, 

November, 1877 ------ 133 

39. At the Battle of Task-kesan, 31st December, 1877 - 135 

40. Death of Radford, February 1878 - - 142 



February, 1878 — 31st December, 1881 



41. Candidate for Birmingham : Mr. J. B. Stone, 1878 - - 147 

42. Burnaby and Gladstone, 29th October, 1878 - 153 

43. Marriage, 25th June, 1879 .... - 158 

44. Comedy at Wolverhampton ... - 163 

45. A Merry Mill at Leicester - - - 164 

46. The Birmingham election, 31st March, 1880 - 167 

10th December, 1881 — 4th March, 1882 


47. Tragic Balloon Accident, Death of Mr. Walter Powell, M.P., 

10th December, 1881 ..... 174 

48. The Brine and Simmons' Balloon Misadventure, 4th March, 

1882 -------- 177 


4th March, 1882— 5th June, 1882 


49. Burnaby crosses the Channel, 23rd March, 1882 - - 179 

50. The Proposed Ascent from Bedford, 5th June, 1882 - - 193 

5th June, 1882 — December, 1883 


51. In Spain with Mr. Henri Deutsch, March, 1883 - - 197 

52. Concerning Absalom, August, 1883 - - - 200 

53. Speeches at Birmingham, October 2nd, and Wednesbury, 

October 17th ------- 204 

54. His last visit to Spain, October, 1883 ... - 205 

55. Speeches at Bristol, Preston, Bradford and Birmingham, 

November 13th — December 20th ... - 205 

December, 1883 — 10th January, 1884 


56. The Primrose League ------ 209 

57. Anecdotes (The Man in Peascod Street : Others like Her : 

Life worth Living) - - - - - -213 


ioth January, 1884 — 29th March, 1884 



58. First Battle of El Teb, 5th February, 1884 - - 215 

59. Storey's Miraculous Escape - 218 

60. Second Battle of El Teb, 28th February, 1884 - - - 221 

61. Anecdotes (Harry Burnaby : The Prayer Burnaby never 

Prayed) - - - - - - - 228 

30th March, 1884— ioth November, 1884 


62. " The El Teb Speeches," 15th April, 1884 - - - 229 

63. Burnaby and the Sweep - 233 

64. The Banquet in the Assembly Rooms : Mr. Rowlands, 14th 

October, 1884 - - - - - - 236 

65. The Great Riots : Mr. Buckley clears the Platform, October 

18S4 -------- 239 

66. The Yellow Jug - - - - - - - 244 

67. Brompton and Somerby ------ 248 

68. The Blues proud of him - - - 252 

69. He plans a journey to Timbuctoo .... 256 

ioth November, 1884 — 17th January, 1885 


70. " Very Unhappy " . - 260 

71. His last Letter, 28th December, 1885 ... - 266 


17th January, 1885 


72. The night before the Battle - - - - - 271 

73. Chats with Mr. Bennet Burleigh, Mr. Melton Prior, and Lord 

Binning _„_.--- 272 

74. Death of Burnaby ...... 289 



[Written specially for this work] 

75. The Bravest Man in England dying - 298 

76. Other Reminiscences ------ 304 





77. Reception of the News in England - - - 307 

78. A Retrospect ------- 308 

79. Burnaby's friends and acquaintances - - - - 308 



Bibliography of Burnaby ----- iii 

2. Bibliography of Mrs. Fred Burnaby (Mrs. Aubrey Le Blond) - iv 

3. Burnaby's Promotions ------ iv 

4. A Note respecting Burnaby's mother - - - iv 

5. Administrations from 1868 v 

6. Vicars of Somerby from 1759 - v 

7. Rectors of St. Peter's, Bedford, from 1835 - - - vi 

8. Memorials to Burnaby ------ vi 


i. COLONEL FRED BURNABY - - Frontispiece 




4. SOMERBY HALL ------ 13 




7. MRS. MANNERS-SUTTON ----- 37 








14. "VANITY FAIR" CARTOON - - - - 103 

15. AN ASCENT WITH MR. LUCY - - - 107 

16. THE DESCENT ------ u 3 





21. ERDINGTON GRANGE - - - - - 151 

22. MRS. FRED BURNABY - - - - - 155 


24. DON QUIXOTE (CARTOON) - - - 161 



26. A VALENTINE (CARTOON)- - - - - 169 

27. JUST BEFORE THE BATTLE - - - - 171 



30. BURNABY AT EL TEB - - - - - 219 

31. WELL DONE FRED (CARTOON) - - - 225 

32. CARTOON FROM "PUNCH" - - - - 231 



35. A COUNCIL OF WAR (CARTOON) - - - 245 


xxiv LIST OF PLATES (Continued) 

37 MR. PERCIVAL HUGHES - - - 253 

38. MR. HARRY BURNABY - - - - - 257 

39. THE SQUARE AT ABOU KLEA - - - 269 



TRATED LONDON NEWS ") - - - - 275 


LANDS ------- 277 



44. THE BATTLE OF GUBAT - - - - 281 




47. THE REV. EVELYN BURNABY, M.A. - - 291 




He was of those with heart and hand who reared 
Our England to her high imperial place 
And her therein maintained, despite the base 

Curst crew that fain upon the rocks had steered,— 

Her constant son who none and nothing feared 
Nor at life's hand asked any greater grace 
Than leave to look far danger in the face 

And pluck rebated peril by the beard. 

As first, so last, the Fates to him were kind, 
Vouchsafing him the true man's most desire, 
Occasion for the land he loved so well, 
Fighting, to fall and on the desert wind 
Pass, borne of Battle's chariots of fire, 

To where, death-shrined, the high-souled heroes dwell. 



3rd March 1842 — 30th September 1859. 
Early Days at Bedford. 

Frederick Gustavus Burnaby, the distinguished sol- 
dier, traveller and aeronaut, the modern Hercules, 
" the bravest of the brave," was born 
1— Childhood at the old Rectory, situated on the 

at Bedford, north side of St. Peter's Green, Bedford, 
on 3rd March, 1842, his father being 
the Rev. Gustavus Andrew Burnaby, Rector of the 
adjoining St. Peter's Church* ; his mother Harriet, 
one of the three beautiful daughters^ of Henry Villebois, 
the Squire of Marham, Norfolk. The Burnabys were of 
aristocratic lineage, and Frederick claimed as an ancestor 
no less distinguished a person than King Edward I., who, 
indeed, was ever his great hero and model. Both Long- 
shanks and his putative descendant were physically 
magnificent men ; but the former, with all his inches, 
was well distanced by Burnaby's six feet four in stock- 

'- ;: The Rev. Gustavus and Mrs. Burnaby were married at St. Mary's, 
Bryanston Square, 27th November, 1833. 

+ The others were Lady Sykes and Maria Vicountess Glentworth, 
who died in 1904, in her 101st year. Mr. Burnaby was for a time Canon 
of Middleham, in Yorkshire. 


Besides being Rector of St. Peter's, Bedford, the elder 
Burnaby was Lord of the Manor of Somerby* in Leicester- 
shire, which he had purchased from Lord Paulet in 1844, 
and patron of the livings of Somerby and the adjacent 
Burrough-on-the-Hill. He had acquired his rights at 
Burrough through his mother, who was daughter and 
heiress of the Rev. William Brown, Rector of that 
parish and patron of the living ; and who for many years 
resided at Somerby Hall. The Rev. Gustavus Burnaby 
had four children, namely, Mary Jemima (May),| Ann 
Glentworth (Annie), % Frederick, the subject of this work, 
and Evelyn.§ A fox-hunting parson of the old school, 
and a man of haughty and proud bearing, the Rev. 
Gustavus enjoyed, nevertheless, the respect, the love, 
and even the reverence of the members of his congrega- 
tion. Though hasty and masterful, he was at the same 
time generous, magnanimous and well-intentioned. He 
kept up considerable state, and used to drive to the race- 
course on the Ampthill Road and elsewhere in his carriage 
with coachman in livery and footman hanging to loop- 
strap behind. With an unimpeachable cellar and a 
baronial table, he bore throughout the county a reputa- 
tion for hospitality, and Her Majesty's judges, when on 
circuit, and the Duke and Duchess of Bedford and other 
notables, when they visited the town on important 
occasions, used to stay with him, while he was often a 
guest at Woburn Abbey and at Mentmore, the seat of 
Lord Rothschild. Among his friends he numbered 
Mr. Robert Arkwright, Mr. Maniac, Mr. Littledale, 

* Previous to his acceptance of the living of St. Peter's (7th Feb- 
ruary, 1835) he for a time resided at The Grove, Somerby, a house 
owned by Major and the Honorable Mrs. Candy, parents of the 
Duchess of Newcastle. Occasionally Mr. Burnaby officiated at Somerby. 
Thus on 8th March, 1835, he baptised a child there, and his name appears 
again in the register under date 21st July, 1848. 

f Born at Somerby, 8th December, 1834; baptised at Somerby 1st 
January, 1835. She became Mrs. Manners-Sutton. 

% Born at Bedford, 20th March, 1837 ; baptised at St. Peter's, Bedford, 
21st April, 1839. She became Mrs. Duncan Baillie. 

§ Born at Bedford, 7th January, 1848. He became Rector of Burrough, 




Lent by Mr. Herbert Page, Bt i 


Mr. Harry Thornton, Lady Wensleydale, Mr. James 
Wyatt, and Mr. George Hurst,* most of whom were 
supporters of the Oakley Hunt ; and to these should 
perhaps be added the Rev. James Donne, Vicar of St. 
Paul's, Bedford, and the Rev. William Monkhouse, of 
Goldington. He boasted an excellent library, and a 
garden and paddock with charming vistas formed by 
magnificent walnut and other ornamental trees, a fine 
rosery and a spacious aviary well-stocked with foreign 
birds. His dependants found him affable and indulgent, 
and this is, perhaps, the more to his credit, as several of 
them were staunch dissenters. He was particularly 
partial to his gardener, a good old fellow, who spent the 
week-days at the Rectory and Sundays in his native 
village, Ravensden, three miles from Bedford, where 
he donned a black coat and acted as local preacher — 
among his congregation being another of Mr. Burnaby's 
servants — the laundress. 

" Who preached yesterday ? " the Rector asked the 
laundress one Monday morning. 

" The gardener, sir," she replied. 

" Where did he take his text from ? " 

" Abbacca." 

" Then," said the Rector, " I suppose he told you not 
to smoke ? " 

By and by he came upon the old man, who was dig- 

" Where was your text on Sunday taken from, 
Simons ? " he enquired. 

" Abbacca, sir," replied the old man, leaning on his 
spade ; and then, as the Rector looked puzzled, he added, 
" One of the small prophets." 

" You mean Habakkuk," observed the Rector. 

" Well," said the old man, " some on 'em do call him 
Habakkuk, but I favours Abbacca." 

Always masterful, the Rev. Gustavus was never quite 
so overbearing as at election times. Just before one of 

* Who was five times mayor of Bedford, and lived to be nearly ioo. 


the borough contests* he went and plumped himself 
down on the counter of Mr. Haskins the jeweller, whose 
shop was on the opposite side of St. Peter's Green, and 
said authoritatively, " You'll vote for Stuart, Haskins ? " 

" I'm sure I shant," replied Haskins. 

" Then I shall withdraw my custom," followed 

" Then you'll starve the children," said Haskins. 

After the election the Rev. Gustavus looked in again. 
" Give me your fist, Haskins," he said. " I'm glad you 
stuck to your principles." 

The new baby, destined to become the subject of these 
pages, was a bouncing one ; indeed, a second infant 
Hercules. It scaled eleven pounds, being correspond- 
ingly vigorous, while its father was correspondingly 
proud. It was baptised on 27th March, 1842, the god- 
fathers being Mr. Frederick R. O. Villebois (Mrs. Burn- 
aby's uncle, Master of the Craven) and Mr. Henry Ville- 
bois (Mrs. Burnaby's brother, Master of the V.W.H.), 
to whom A Ride to Khiva came to be dedicated. 

Bedford in those days was only a small town, with a 
population of barely 11,000. Exteriorly, the parish 
church of St. Paul exhibited very much 
2 — Bedford in its present appearance, though it was 
the Forties, partly hidden by unsightly tenements, 
including a number of dilapidated build- 
ings, called Butcher's Row. On the east side of the 
High Street, occupying part of the space between 
Lurke Street and Mill Street, extended a long blank 
wall overshadowed by magnificent cedars, which bounded 
the pleasure gardens of a Miss Langley, while from the 
Goldington Road to what is now Grove Place, swept the 
beautiful grounds of Mr. George Peter Livius, the site of 
whose housef is now occupied by Windsor Terrace. 

* The hustings were usually held on St. Peter's Green, and candidates 
were nominated there. 

f Demolished 1856. 


St. Cuthbert's Church was still unfinished, Bunyan Meet- 
ing had just arisen on the site of its three-gabled pre- 
decessor. In place of the present river embankment 
spread a dismal and fetid swamp ; while southwards 
St. Mary's and St. John's lifted their crumbling heads 
above dingy tenement and depressing thoroughfare. 
Railways there were none, and he who had not a chariot 
of his own was bound to hire or content himself with a 
comfortless seat in the crawling and creaking carrier's 
van. The town had one postman — a dwarf named 
Nichols, and one post office — kept by " a crotchety 
old man named Bithrey," who sat, like an ogre, behind 
a little wooden door which you had to tap before handing 
in your letter and a penny. 

St. Peter's Church— or to give its full name, the Church 
of St. Peter de Merton — has since Burnaby's early days 
been altered and enlarged almost beyond 
recognition. It was then quite a tiny 3— St. Peter's 
building — the nave, indeed, being scarcely Church, 

larger than the present chancel ; and there 
were no aisles. The Rectory grounds adjoined the church- 
yard on the east ; while on the west stood a quaintly- 
gabled Elizabethan homestead, occupied by Mr. Burn- 
aby's friend, Viscount de Vismes* ; and a more idyllic 
picture than that formed by the church and these two 
antique houses, with their rich warm tints, embowered 
in luxuriant foliage, can scarcely be conceived. At St. 
Peter's there were services in the morning and afternoon 
only ; and the latter was the fashionable service. " If 
you want to see the latest modes, my dear," Frivol would 
lisp to Frivol, " Go to St. Peter's in the afternoon." 

The rector's right hand and aide-de-camp in matters 
ecclesiastical, was Mr. Robert Rose, the organist, who 
really did wonders, considering the rough-hewn material 
placed in his charge ; for the extraordinary idea per- 
meated the parish that the finer the girl the better singer 

* He died 2nd Sept., 1874. There is an elaborate tomb to the memory 
of him and the Countess in the churchyard. 


she would make— thus one honest fellow introduced his 
buxom daughter with " I've brought you another of my 
gals, Mr. Rose, and she is a whopper." 

On entering the church you reverently took your place 
in your pew — and all the pews were white with mahog- 
any tops — carrying your hat with you, or dropping it into 
the font, according to fancy ; and you could depend on a 
good sermon, though the Dissenters — who, to do them 
justice, prayed earnestly for the enlightenment of in- 
fidels, housebreakers and fox-hunting parsons — insisted 
that it was invariably composed by Mrs. Burnaby — 
a rumour which the unruffled and chivalrous rector 
never troubled to refute. Little Fred, however, stand- 
ing on a seat of the great square pew under the pulpit, 
was at first more interested in watching the verger with 
his white wand poking the heads of fidgety boys, than in 
listening to his father's oratory ; though later, owing to a 
marvellous memory, he obtained an even phenomenal 
knowledge of the Bible. 

At Christmas time he liked to help when the ladies 
were " sticking the church," as it was queerly called — in 
other words, decorating it — and beautifully decorated it 
was — owing in large measure to the taste of the organist's 
wife and daughter. When all was done to satisfaction the 
brooms, dust-pans, hand brushes and dusters, which were 
kept under the altar, were fetched out, and the church re- 
ceived its great annual cleaning. At morning service 
on the important day how cheerily rang out from the 
gallery the lusty, though metallic voices of the Sunday 
School children ! — the boys on one side of the organ, 
the girls on the other — while the choir — the pick of the 
town for bulk and limb — outdid even themselves ; 
a condition of things which may, or may not, be attribut- 
able to the fact that it was Mr. Burnaby's custom to 
have the whole of the school and the choir to dinner 
at the Rectory. Dinner over — and more luscious beef 
or more delectable plum pudding never smoked on table — 
the youngsters used to drift into the adjoining field 


o > 
3 S 

2 1 


W - 













' ** 




— * 













to play football and indulge in sack and other races 
supposed to be appropriate to the day, Fred — lissom 
as a hare — always joining in, and establishing records. 
Not were the aged forgotten. Writing so recently as last 
Christmas, one of the old Sunday scholars says : " And 
dear Mr. and Mrs. Burnaby, I knew them so well, and I 
think I see them now at this festive season trying their 
utmost, by means of seasonable gifts, to bring happiness 
to the homes of the poor. How daring Fred was ! 
I remember how we used to wander together over the 
vapoury meadows, and how he used to jump the wide 
backwater at Newnham, so as to save a long walk over 
the wooden bridge. We other boys stood aghast at 
his daring, but he just managed to land on the opposite 
side. Fred was of so sanguine a temper. He never 
knew what fear was." Another scholar recalled the 
Rector's outdoor habit, when he met young folks, of 
extending, archiepiscopally, two straight fingers, and 
enquiring amiably " Do, do ? " 

At first Mr. Burnaby thought of making a clergyman 
of his son, and Fred was quite agreeable until one day — 
31st July, 1851— when he stood in St. Peter's church- 
yard while his father, who showed himself deeply sym- 
pathetic during the service, was burying John Francis, 
the parish clerk. After the words " In the midst of life 
we are in death," little Fred, touched to the quick by his 
father's emotion and the sobs of the mourners, pulled his 
father's surplice, and said, with tears trickling down his 
cheeks, " Papa, I won't be a parson." 

To the north of the Rectory, and on the grounds, 
stood a ruined farmhouse where he and his companions 
used to play. Hard by was a pond into which in summer 
time they frequently tumbled, " coming out green all 
over " ; and which in winter proved an ideal place for 
slides. After a heavy fall of snow the boys would roll 
from the field a huge snowball which, by the time it 
reached High Street, would be as much as seven feet in 
diameter. Fred early took to dumb-bells, practising 


not only in the fields but in his father's drawing-room ; 
and on one occasion he went too near the marble mantel- 
piece and smashed it to atoms. 

Not far from the Rectory stood, as we stated, the 
residence of Mr. Livius, and both house and grounds had 
the reputation of being haunted, owing partly to the 
stories that circulated respecting Mr. Livius and his friend 
the Rev. N. S. Godfrey,* who were spiritualists, and 
partly owing to Mr. Livius's habit of hanging among the 
trees a number of Eolian harps, which made weird sounds 
" as of spirits in pain," all the night long ; and to Bed- 
ford children — though not to little Fred, who, fearing 
neither man nor spectre, used in bravado to pass at night 
by the dreaded wall alone, — the grounds were a perpetual 
terror. Mr. Burnaby's children were in charge of Mrs. 
Page, the housekeeper, a faithful and devoted creature, 
who, however, required all her wits to keep them within 
bounds. She used to say of Fred in particular that he 
had a most " contradictorious spirit," and more than 
once she had to chase him in his night shirt across St. 
Peter's Green amid an amused throng of onlookers ; 
while he was aided and abetted in his devilry by his 
father's great dog Berry who, when the Rectory gates 
were opened for the carriage, used to come out with a 
bound and startle everybody near. One or another 
of the children was in trouble most days, but perhaps 
the gravest instance was when Annie swallowed some 
berries of the deadly nightshade and was carried in, 
as it was supposed, dying. She recovered, however, 
to turn her attention to much additional naughtiness. 

It is not surprising that, Mrs. Page, overwrought 
by the lawlessness of her charges, sometimes lost her head. 
The worst, however, she at any time did in her flurry, 

* Mr. Godfrey who was Rector of Biddenham was suspended for three 
years owing to his spiritualistic practices. He wrote Table Moving Tested 
and proved to be the Result of Satanic Agency (1853) which was replied to by 
John Pritchard in a pamphlet entitled A Few Sober Words of Table Talk 
about Tabic Spirits and the Rev. N. S. Godfrey's Incantations. Mr. Godfrey 
subsequently became Vicar of St. Bartholomew's, Southsea. 






















• .— i 








was to give Evelyn a dose of embrocation instead of his 
usual medicine ; but she was more than once heard to 
wish wickedly that she was in heaven. 

At the age of nine, Fred was sent to Bedford Grammar 
School — the old building situated in St. Paul's Square, 
with figure of Sir William Harpur in niche over the 
portal. The Headmaster at the time was the Rev. Dr. 
Brereton. Naturally Fred had a fight there, his oppo- 
nent being a bigger boy ; and, just as naturally, when he 
came off conqueror, his father rewarded him with a 
shilling. Another amusement was throwing up farth- 
ings and shooting at them. With his companions 
Charlie (now Colonel) Roberts, Vitruvius Wyatt (now 
Vicar of St. Leonard's, Bedford), Lizzie Hornsby, Emma 
Rose and Alexander De Vismes, son of the Count, 
he used to go boating and picnicing, sometimes to 
Cardington, and sometimes in the opposite direction, 
their favourite resorts being " Paradise " (Cauldwell 
House),* the residence of Mr. John Howard, and Honey 
Hill ; and as they rowed they would sing nigger and 
other songs — timing themselves to the dipping of the 
oars. In after years, too, Fred recalled the comical 
scenes at the Wool Fair on St. Peter's Green and the 
dissipations of Bedford Fair,| the stalls of which extended 
from the Green to St. Paul's Church ; and how he used 
to lay out his pence in a thin ginger-bread called parlia- 
ment, and baked warden pears sold by one Wiffin, a man 
with a stentorian voice. 

The family often paid visits to Somerby, $ and stayed 
at the Hall which had become the residence of Mr. 

* Now the residence of Mr. Henry Burridge. 

t October 12th. 

J Somerby and Burrough boast of two distinguished personages who 
were connected with both villages, namely William Cheselden, surgeon and 
anatomist (1688— 1752), born at Burrough, and Sir. Benjamin Ward Richard- 
son, born at Somerby. Dr. Cheselden's sister Deborah married Rev. 
Gustavus Brown, Rector of Burrough, and so became an ancestress of Fred 
Burnaby. Cheselden was a friend of Pope who commemorates him in his 
Imitations of Horace. There may still be seen in the grounds of Somerby 
Hall a beautiful leaden watertank, brought from Burrough, with the initials 
G. and D.B. (Gustavus and Deborah Brown) and the date 1724. 

c 2 


Burnaby's mother. Somerby, a compact, 
*~~ bl^ddi'" bright and pleasant village, is situated 
Aged Man. some thirteen miles from Leicester, four 
from Oakham and six from Melton 
Mowbray — the nearest station being John o'Gaunt,* 
three miles distant. Somerby Hall is a spacious 
stuccoed building with a front facing the garden. 
The lawn, which had a rosery surmounted by a great glass 
ball, commands views of three churches — those of 
Somerby, Pickwell and Cold Overton ; and on its border 
stands an enormous beech with four stems, which Mrs. 
Burnaby used to point to and say : " My four children " 
(May, Annie, Fred and Evelyn). At some distance stand 
two limes, the lower branches of which, as they hid the 
view, Mrs. Burnaby wished cut away. For long the 
Rev. Gustavus refused consent, but at last he humoured 
her, and the trees have ever since been known as 
" Discord " and " Concord." 

Fred revelled in field sports, especially hunting ; and 
some doggerel lines entitled The County Hunt, composed 
by him when he and his father were staying at Somerby, 
have been preserved. They commence with the vow 
made by the huntsman of the Quorn, after a day's ill 
luck, that " the morrow success should bring." When 
the morrow arrived, he set off with " five couple of 
hounds at his side," and reached Little Dalby village in 
company with " Gilmore Lloyd and Sir Henry Edwards." 
The horn rings merrily, the hounds are in full career — 
and the excited question goes the round : " Is it a hare 
or a fox ? ' It turns out to be neither, but only a man 
carrying aniseed, who straightway rushed from the 
canine kind. While this was taking place — 

A middle-aged man in a lordly field 

Stood giving directions to all — 

A respectable middle-aged man was he 

Owner of Somerby Hall. 

Shortly a man rushed into the field, 

Rushing o'er dale and lea. 

The gentlemen cried " stop, you're spoiling my hedge." 

" I can't, or they'll run into me ! " 

* Name given at the suggestion of General Burnaby (Fred's cousin) after 
John of Gaunt, the great earl of Lancaster and Leicester. 


From a photo by Messrs. John Burton & Sons, Leicester. 


The middle-aged man, giving directions to all, was, it 
need hardly be said, Burnaby's father ; and to be " giving 
directions to all " was characteristic enough of the auto- 
cratic gentleman. The verses continue — 

The man was caught, and then for sport 

A lady in a habit 
Said to the master of the hunt 

" Let's run a little rabbit." 

The suggestion was followed, and so ends what was 
probably Master Burnaby's first attempt at verse ; 
though it was not his last, for he often amused himself 
with writing doggerel. No doubt this effusion was read 
with applause at the Hall ; and we may be equally sure 
the allusion to the middle-aged man giving directions to 
all, was duly appreciated by the middle-aged man him- 
self, and handsomely acknowledged. 

Fred obtained some assistance in his education from 
the Rev. William Young Nutt,* a hard-working clergy- 
man, who was for thirty-five years curate of Burrough, 
and subsequently rector of Cold Overton. As it was Mr. 
Nutt's custom to make his pupils read the lessons in 
church, while he stood by ready to give a nip in case of a 
blunder, they all became approved elocutionists ; and 
perhaps Fred owed some of the impression which he 
many years afterwards made as a speaker on the people 
of Birmingham, to the good gentleman's very vigilant 
finger and thumb. 

Burnaby left Bedford Grammar School in May, 1852, 
and proceeded to a private school at Tinwell, near Stam- 
ford, kept by the Rev. Charles Arnold, 
son of the Rev. Thomas Kerchever Arnold, 1852) and 

of Hennfs Latin Book fame; and there his Ha i855) (Jan * 
principal companions were Denzil Baring, 
the late Lord Rowton, Edward Carr Glyn, now Bishop of 
Peterborough, Lord Sunderland (afterwards in turn Lord 
Blandford and Duke of Marlborough), and H. N. Finch. 
His favourite sport at Tinwell was performing on the 

* One of his sons, Henry, resides at Flitwick (Beds.), another, the Rev. 
R. Nutt, at Ryde, a third Alfred, is architect to the King, at Windsor. 


cross-bar of a gymnastic apparatus fixed some twenty 
feet from the ground. On being informed that it would 
not be safe to drop from it, he promptly resolved to make 
the trial ; and with the words " Get away boys, I'm 
coming," he jumped to the ground, with the result of a 
broken leg, which confined him to his bed for three 
months, though he never once shed a tear or made the 
least complaint. 

In the following year there were wedding festivities 
at the old Bedford home — the occasion being the union of 
Burnaby's elder sister with Mr. John Henry Manners- 
Sutton, of Kelham, Notts. Owing to the father's posi- 
tion, and the fact that the bride was the loveliest woman 
of her time — though beauty was almost her least charm — 
all Bedford and the country round flocked to the wedding, 
at which four dukes were present.* 

In January 1855, Burnaby — then a tall thin boy, 
with a foreign-looking pallid face — passed to Harrow, 
and he was placed, along with his friend Finch in "Middle- 
mist's House," afterwards known as " Crookshank's." 
In Greek and Latin he never distinguished himself, 
indeed, for the study of these languages he always 
showed contempt ; and in one of his speeches, when he 
became a politician, he alleged that our public schools 
are kept up far more in the interests of the masters 
than of the boys — so much time being devoted to Greek 
and Latin, not because of the utility of these languages, 
but because the masters themselves happen to be ac- 
quainted with them. I At French, however, he soon 
became proficient. Among the letters he wrote from 
Harrow was the following : 
My dear Papa, 

I hope you are quite well. You will be very glad to 
hear I have got my remove, and got it quite easily, as 
seven fellows below me got it. Give my love to dear 

* Burnaby's other sister, Annie, became, in 1862, wife of Mr. Duncan 

f Speech at Wednesbury, 17th October, 1883. 


mamma. I think my eyes are better. Finch gave me 
a dinner yesterday at Fuller's. At least it was a kind of 
early tea on a pheasant and some other things. There 
were three of us there, and between us we finished him 
well. He was rather a large pheasant. Give my love to 
May and Annie. And now with best love, I remain, 
Your ever affectionate son, 

Frederick G. Burnaby. 

There was at Harrow in those days a system of bully- 
ing, of which Burnaby, with his manly notions, founded 
chiefly on the commandment " Thou shalt not hit a boy 
under your own size," strongly disapproved. On 18th 
March, 1854, that is nine months before he entered the 
school, there had appeared in Punch an article apparently 
from the pen of Douglas Jerrold, entitled " Bullying at 
Public Schools," which mentions both Harrow and Rugby 
as schools where bullying of a particularly offensive 
kind had taken place ; and after a stern denunciation 
of the practice, it concludes with : " We only wish the 
parent of some child who may have been brutally 
ill-used by a bigger and stronger boy would try the effect 
of the Act for the Punishment of Aggravated Assaults, 
for there is, at all events, some power in the law, if there 
is no redress to be had at the hands of the masters." 

Burnaby may have read or heard of this article ; 
but in any case he sent to Punch a communication 
entitled " The Toad under the Harrow," in which he 
complained particularly of the Harrow system of fagging. 
Although the communication was ignored by the editor, 
the course which Burnaby had taken reached, somehow, 
the ears of the headmaster, who sent for the boy and 
reprimanded him. However, the incident must have 
had a healthy effect, for Mr. Walter Pepys,* recalling 
the period of Burnaby's latter days at Harrow, has 
been able to write to me : " The school life was decidedly 
rough, or would at least now be considered so, but 
there was a fine manly spirit with it, and in most houses 

*He was in Burnaby's house. 


the quiet and weak were not molested. Many of the 
boys of that period rose to distinction, as, for example, 
J. A. Symonds, G. O. Trevelyan, Montagu Corry, F. H. 
Jeune, H. Chaplin, W. S. Church, Kenelm Digby, Edward 
Stanhope, A. M. Chaunell, and H. T. Thompson." 

Another incident of Burnaby's Harrow life was a battle 
royal between him and a lad two years his senior, Henry 
Edwards* ; and although one of the masters tried to 
stop the fight, his efforts, owing to the fact that the scene 
was the duly prescribed " Milling Ground,"! were abor- 
tive, and it was fought to a finish. Then, too, while at 
Harrow, Burnaby showed his adventurous spirit by taking 
ud a boat — a one pair skiff — from Windsor to Oxford, 
and thence by the canal to Severn and Shrewsbury 
and back again — a distance of six hundred miles ; 
thus performing a journey which, seeing that it occupied 
over three weeks, was, for a boy of thirteen, a really 
remarkable feat. 

By this time it was decided that Burnaby should enter 

the army, and in 1857 he was removed from Harrow 

and sent to Oswestry, where he studied 

6— The Goose, under the Rev. Stephen Donne, J brother 

1857. of the Rev. James Donne, Vicar of St. 

Paul's, Bedford. Here he displayed a 

prodigious appetite. On one occasion when on a walking 

tour in Wales he entered an inn, with only half-a-crown 

in his pocket, and enquired what he could have for dinner 

and the charge. 

The landlord replied : " Goose and apple-tart, half-a- 

The goose, a respectable one, with the usual savoury 
etceteras, and the apple-tart, made by no niggard hand, 
were brought forward ; but when the landlord looked in 
half an hour later he found that Burnaby had eaten 
the whole of the goose and the apple tart as well. 

♦Afterwards Sir H. C. Edwards. 

I Just under the old school. 

J Archdeacon Donne, Vicar of Wakefield, is his son. 

Lent by Mr. Hubert Page, Bedford. 

Showing East Window (to the Memory of Burnaby's parents) 

Photo by Rev. G. E. Britten. 


For a moment he stood stock-still, in a stupor. 

When, however, Burnaby coolly tendered the half- 
crown and complimented him on his cookery, he mechan- 
ically put out his hand for the well-merited coin ; and re- 
marked : " Next time you come into these parts, please 
give my friend Jones, of the Red Lion, a turn." 

On October 12th, 1857, he wrote to his father : 

My dear Father, 

Many thanks for the post office order, which I received 
on Saturday. I expect I shall be able to go up in Decem- 
ber, for the other day I met a captain in the army at 
dinner, and he said they want officers so bad now that 
they wink at the age, and that a cousin of his got in a 
little while ago at 16. I had a letter from Colonel Yorke 
the other day, saying he would let me know when 
the next examination is to be. He is the Secretary to 
the Council of Education. Give my love to dear Mother 
and Annie, and hoping that Evelyn is not quite annihilated 
at the idea of going to school. Believe me, your very 
affectionate son, 

F. Burnaby. 

From Oswestry he was sent to Dresden, in order to 

study languages under Professor Hughes ; and the 

following letter, which is undated, appears 

to have been written soon after his arrival 7 ~ Dresden. 

He joins 
there. the Blues. 

4, Marian Strasse, Dresden. 

My dear Governor, 

Many thanks for your kind letter, which I received 

quite safe. I called on Paget to-day. He was very kind, 

but said that he had received no letter from my uncle, 

so I suppose it was lost. I have, however, written to my 

uncle to ask him for another. I like Dresden very much. 

The old professor is a capital fellow. I am getting on 

very well with the cornet, and German is becoming easier 

every day. Write and tell me how much Benham makes. 


It is awfully hot, but we live almost the whole day 
in the Elbe, so it is very comfortable. They have 
got capital bathing places here — large rafts with houses 
on them and capital places to spring from so and so feet 
from the water. The scenery is lovely. Give my best 
love to Mamma and Annie,* and with best love to all 

Believe me ever your very affectionate son, 


In Germany he became proficient in French, German 
and Italian ; and on his return to England, as he was 
still minded to become a soldier, he sat for his examina- 
tion, which he passed with great credit, and some months 
later (30th September, 1859) he was gazetted cornet in the 
Royal Horse Guards (Blues). 

In the meantime there had been revolutionary changes 
at St. Peter's, the Rev. Gustavus having engaged a zeal- 
ous and musical curate, the Rev. John Boyle, who tho- 
roughly stirred up the parish. Among Mr. Boyle's 
various innovations was the introduction of a choral 
service, a change which was regarded with profound 
suspicion ; and which saddled its author with the charge 
of being a Jesuit in disguise ; but whether his irreverent 
hand interfered with other sacred and hoary institutions, 
such as keeping the hand brushes and dustpans under the 
altar, we are not informed. He was certainly equal to it. 

One Sunday morning in church, when Mr. Rose was 
playing the hymn tune before the singing, there came 
out in the midst of it some full clear notes of remarkable 
power, and such as the organ had never before given forth. 
There was a marked sensation in the church, and the 
sensation became even more acute when, as the hymn 
was being sung, the same notes were repeated in every 
verse. The pretended new stop, however, presently 
walked out of the organ, and stood revealed as Fred 
Burnaby who, home on leave, had entered the tuning 
place with his cornet just before the hymn was given out ; 

* His sister, Ann Glentworth (afterwards Mrs. Duncan Baillie), 


and the effect was so fine — Fred being a first-rate player — 
that he was begged to repeat the performance the follow- 
ing Sunday ; and for years afterwards, on special occa- 
sions, the cornet accompanied the organ. 

Of Fred's stoicism under suffering we have furnished 
an example, and we may give another. Once when on a 
visit of leave to Bedford, he was practising with a pistol 
when it exploded in his hand. Instead, however, of 
making any remark, he coolly walked down the High 
Street to Dr. Hurst's,* had the wound stitched up, and 
returned to the Rectory to lunch, without making any 
reference whatever to the matter. He was a student, 
however, as well as a youth of action, but if he turned 
to his father's bookshelves it was invariably to take 
down some volume of history or biography, and the 
picturesque and stirring pages of Plutarch and Gibbon, 
not only thrilled him to the very centre, but provoked in 
him an ardent longing to emulate the courageous deeds 
of the various heroes. 

Owing to the fact, already mentioned, that several 
of the judges when on circuit used to be entertained 
at St. Peter's Rectory, the Rev. Gustavus often attended 
the Quarter Sessions, not infrequently taking with him 
his younger son, Evelyn, who evinced a keen pleasure 
both in listening to the trials and in reading the news- 
paper reports afterwards. One day Evelyn did some- 
thing that caused his father unusual pleasure, and the 
old gentleman said to him, " My boy, name something 
that you would like. No matter what it is, I will give it 
you if possible." 

" Father," said Evelyn, " buy me a Newgate calen- 

As a curious instance of the permanence of character, 
it may be mentioned that only last year the Rev. Evelyn 
Burnaby published a work entitled, Memories of Famous 
Trials. After being educated at Eton, where he was a 

♦Brother of the late Mr. George Hurst. Dr. Hurst's house occupied 
what is now the High Street entrance to the Arcade. 



contemporary of Mr. A. J. Balfour, Lord Randolph 
Churchill, Lord Rosebery, and Ernest Vivian, now Lord 
Swansea, his life-long friend, Evelyn proceeded to Oxford, 
where he graduated with honours. 


30TH SEPTEMBER 1859 — 31ST DECEMBER 1867. 


As Burnaby's early years in the army did not syn- 
chronize with a piping time of war, they were unmarked 
by any stirring event. He devoted him- 
~~ from "re- self sedulously to his duties and studies, 

mome, 21st an( j to developing by means of dumb-bell 
U y ' and other exercises, his phenomenal 
strength. Among his hobbies was fishing, and he became, 
as the result of persistent practice on the lawn at Bed- 
ford, an adept at casting the net. 

In the summer of 1864 he turned his mind to aero- 
nautics, and henceforward that science was one of his 
leading enthusiasms. 

Public attention had recently been drawn anew to the 
balloon, owing largely to the achievements of Mr. Henry 
Coxwell and Mr. James Glaisher, who on 5th September, 
1862, ascended to a distance of seven miles, the highest 
on record ; and the incidents of their courageous voyage, 
which, by reason of the severity of the cold, almost cost 
them their lives, were still fresh in the public mind. 
These gentlemen also distinguished themselves in the 
spring of 1863 ; while on October 4th of the same year 
a voyage was made by a French aeronaut, M. Nadar, 
and twelve other persons in a balloon containing the 
enormous volume of 215,000 feet of gas, and supporting 
in place of the ordinary car a two-storeyed wicker-work 
cottage. Enormous, however, as was Mr. Nadar's 
balloon, it was to be dwarfed by a truly gargantuan 
aerostat constructed by another Frenchman, M. Jean 



Godard, who had made ascents in the interests of his 
country during the Italian campaign of 1859. M. 
Godard' s balloon — The Eagle — had a cubic capacity of 
500,000 feet, being doubtless the largest pear-shaped 
aerostat ever constructed. M. Godard announced that 
his balloon would make an ascent at Cremorne Gardens, 
Chelsea, then one of the most popular of London's 
pleasure resorts ; and the information that it was to be 
inflated, not with coal gas, but with hot air, after the 
fashion of the very early balloons made by the brothers 
Montgolfier, excited enormous interest ; though, as 
such an ascent would necessarily be accompanied by 
extreme danger, fear was entertained lest Government 
might interfere. M. Godard was confident enough, 
but the general public had made up their minds that the 
balloon would catch fire and explode in the air. 

The day before the date fixed for the ascent Burnaby 
and some of his brother subalterns paid a visit to the 
gardens, where they found Mr. E. T. Smith, the manager, 
the keen, bright-eyed M. Godard, and a captain of the 
Blues engaged in earnest conversation ; and it trans- 
pired that they had been discussing the probability 
of government intervention. 

" This is Godard, Fred," whispered the captain, 
" the man who is going up in the fire balloon to-morrow." 
" Very good fun, I should think," followed Burnaby, 
who at that time knew practically nothing about balloon- 

" Fun, indeed," said the captain, " fun with the chance 
of being burnt as well as smashed. You would not think 
it fun if you went up with him." 

This speech ruffled Burnaby, and without taking time 
to reflect, he said, " I should be delighted to ascend if 
Monsieur Godard would take me." 

This being mentioned to the aeronaut he at once 
acquiesced, though he subsequently observed pathetic- 
ally to a friend that Burnaby was " a devil of a weight." 
Burnaby on his part agreed to pay the customary fee, 


and to help during the voyage with the stoking. The 
following afternoon he again found his way to the gardens 
which were crowded with visitors. The weather was 
perfect, Godard and his assistants hurried hither and 
thither making preliminary arrangements, and Mr. J. W. 
Prowse, of the Daily Telegraph, who was to be one of the 
voyagers, and Mr. Coxwell and Mr. Glaisher were stroll- 
ing round the enclosure. The top of the uninflated 
balloon, which was of calico, was suspended forty feet 
from the grass by a rope which extended between two 
masts, each a hundred feet in height, and the rest of the 
monster lay upon the ground, except where a gangway 
made of hoops led from the outside to the enormous 
wooden car at its centre. In the car was a mysterious 
iron furnace, from which shot up into the balloon an enor- 
mous funnel, while there were bewildering air holes, 
and a whole host of other perplexing accessories ; and 
Burnaby noticed that the car was attached to the balloon 
by cords stitched to the sides — there being no net. 
While Godard and his assistants were carrying trusses of 
straw through the gangway and ramming them into the 
furnace, a hundred men stood round the balloon, each 
holding to a piece of the covering ; and Burnaby's 
friends spent the waiting moments chatting with Cox- 
well and Glaisher, both of whom regarded the absence 
of netting as a serious defect. Presentlv Godard set 
light to the straw in the furnace. The fire roared up 
through the funnel, and in a few minutes the gigantic 
envelope began to distend. As it rose the rope keeping 
its top from the flames was gradually tightened. In 
half an hour it was ready to start, but the prospect of a 
ride in so uncanny a conveyance was far less agreeable 
than it had previously appeared. The flames from the 
straw roared at least twenty feet into the balloon through 
the funnel. Sparks flew about in all directions, alighting 
even on the calico and on the trusses of straw which 
were attached to the sides of the car. It was an awe- 
striking spectacle, and one which in regard to the car 


and its occupants would not have been out of place in 
Dante's Hell. While Burnaby was cursing under his 
breath the folly that had induced him to volunteer 
Godard approached and said " I am very sorry, but I 
can't take you." Burnaby felt as though a load had been 
suddenly lifted from his brain. " Thank heavens ! ' 
he said to himself, and then addressing his friends he 
drawled, ' ' Very sorry — great nuisance ! but Godard says 
he can't take me, as I'm too heavy." 

"Too heavy! nonsense," said the captain, 'and 
after all my friends have come here to see you go up. 
You must keep your word, or they will say you funk." 

And the insinuation was a correct one, though unpalat- 
able enough to Burnaby. 

In the meantime Mr. Prowse and a friend of Godard's, 
M. Gustave Faucheux, had taken their places by the side 
of the aeronaut and his assistants. The balloon, now 
fully inflated, presented an imposing and beautiful 
appearance, ornamented as it was with a great blue 
border, tri-colour pennons and representations of the 
French eagle ; and encircled at about a third of its height 
by a bat-like and eldritch arrangement which looked like 
an enormous parachute. 

Godard was now in the act of ordering the men to let 
go the cords, and the balloon began to rise. At that 
moment, fired by a sudden resolution, Burnaby, unseen 
by Godard, who was on the other side of the furnace, 
vaulted into the car ; whereupon the balloon, which had 
been rising splendidly, descended with a bump. The 
additional sixteen stone had been too much for it. 
Godard, who could not understand what was the matter, 
seized fresh trusses of straw, and pushing them into the 
furnace, filled it to its summit. The flames roared 
louder than ever, sparks flew in showers, and up went, 
amid cheer after cheer from the spectators, this terrible 
roaring fiery furnace — an object of such weight that 
" had it fallen it would have more than sufficed to smash 
in the dome of St. Paul's, if not to bring great part of the 


entire edifice to the ground."* It took an easterly, 
and then a south-easterly course. Every part of the 
huge city came in turn within ken of the occupants of the 
car, and the panorama, if not worth the risk of the jour- 
ney, was, in Mr. Prowse's words, " a very magnificent 
spectacle." The sounds from the streets, which re- 
sembled the clamour of a sea, mingled during the whole 
of the journey with the noise of the furnace ; for at no 
time did the balloon ascend much above half a mile. 
The heat from the flames was painful to all, though Burn- 
aby, owing to his great bulk and length of leg seems to 
have felt it most. Three times the balloon passed over 
the Thames, and when it approached Greenwich marshes 
Godard decided to descend— and a perilous descent it 
proved, for the fire was still roaring merrily, and the 
sparks flew at will. The car bumped the ground, and 
rose again time after time, but at last, by the aid of 
" a hundred sensible Englishmen," who caught hold of 
and tugged at the ropes, the monster was secured, and 
the adventure terminated. Burnaby returned in safety 
to his barracks, where he received the congratulations 
of his friends ; and Mr. Prowse hurried to the office of the 
Daily Telegraph, which next morning published his 
graphic account of the adventure. " The Eagle " made 
one more successful voyage. When, however, it was 
being inflated for a third ascent, it caught fire and was 
consumed to ashes, though happily without injury to 

Henceforward Burnaby's interest in aeronautics in- 
creased daily, he studied the subject in all its depart- 
ments, and, after joining the Aeronautical 
Society, he made several excursions in gas 9— A Descent at 
balloons with Mr. Coxwell. In the com- j u i y i864. 
pany of his " lean friend " — indeed the 
leanest man he had ever met, and little more than a 
skeleton — Lieutenant Westcar, who had a balloon of his 
own, he once ascended from Windsor, where the Blues 

* Daily News. 


were garrisoned, and after about two hours the travellers 
found themselves some two thousand feet above Bedford. 
Old Mr. Burnaby was in his garden at the time cutting 
roses, and chatting with his organist. Chancing to look 
up, and seeing a balloon above him, he said, " I should 
not be surprised if my boy were in that car," and he 
ordered the servants to sit up in case his son should 
arrive late and require supper. On second thoughts 
he decided to sit up himself ; and about midnight the 
door flew open and Fred, accompanied by Westcar 
(colossus and skeleton), burst in with : " Hullo, governor. 
Here we are ! Started from the Cavalry Barracks and 
came down at Riseley."* 

Burnaby' s personal appearance as he sauntered down 

the street, or sat on horse-back on parade, never failed 

to attract attention. Not only was he 

Strength, six feet four in height and 46 inches round 

Extraordinary i\ ie c hest, but his face was finely cut and 

handsome. Admittedly it was not an 

English face. There was something of the foreigner in it, 

and one of his friends described his appearance as that 

of an Italian baritone. 

A regular attendant at the fencing school, he became 

one of the most expert men of his time with the foils. 

He could run along a bar like Blondin ; hold with arm 

outstretched a billiard cue with the butt in the air and the 

point between his first and second fingers ; and vault, 

using only the left hand, over a billiard table. Owing to 

his passion for, and skill at boxing, his military friends 

called him Heenan. He outdid every competitor with the 

dumb-bells, and there is, we believe, still preserved in one 

of his clubs, a glass case containing a huge dumb-bell, and 

a written challenge to any man to hold it at arm's length 

for the space of sixty seconds. Burnaby, and Burnaby 

alone, could perform this feat. He used to toy with a 

dumb-bell weighing a hundred weight and a half, which 

* Eight miles from Bedford. 


only one other man — Mr. Lawrence Levy,* could lift, 
and to rear straight above his head another dumb-bell 
weighing one hundred and twenty pounds. " There were 
no two men living," observed Mr. T. Gibson Bowles to the 
author, " whose heads he could not have knocked to- 
gether." He was the strongest man of his time. The 
anecdote of Burnaby and the ponies has often been 
told. There are several versions of it, but the following 
has found most acceptance : Once when Burnaby was at 
Windsor, a horsedealer who had come into possession 
of a couple of very small ponies, took them thither by 
command to exhibit them to the Queen. Before going 
to the castle he showed them to the officers of the Blues, 
to whom occurred the idea of having a joke at Burnaby's 
expense, so they drove the ponies upstairs to his room, 
which was on the first flight — and the door being only 
ajar, the animals trotted in unannounced. Burnaby, 
who could always appreciate a jest was sufficiently 
amused, but then came a difficulty. The ponies had 
gone upstairs quietly enough, but neither force nor en- 
treaty could induce them to descend. The hour ap- 
proached at which they were to be presented to the 
Queen, and their owner was desperate. Burnaby, how- 
ever, soon settled the matter. Taking up a pony under 
each arm, as if they were cats, he walked downstairs 
with them and set them in the courtyard. 

On one occasion he took a thick kitchen poker and 
with his hands bent it double. Then he curled it round 
a companion's neck, making a collar of it, from which 
the man tried in vain to release himself. Burnaby 
however quietly untwisted it, and with as much ease as 
if he were untying a neckerchief. Among those who 
witnessed with amusement these remarkable feats — 

* Mr. Levy in an article in the Birmingham Gazette of 17th February, 
1908, says, in reference to a meeting with Burnaby, " He was somewhat 
dubious as I pitted some of my feats against those he told me he prac- 
tised. I was built in the unheroic mould of 5ft. 4 Jin., he was 6ft. 4m. At 
the Fisheries Exhibition, Col. Burnaby's heavy dumb-bell, weighing some 
170 lbs., was on view and I — let it be said with all due modesty — was the 
only athlete who ever put it up except the Colonel." 

D 2 


though Burnaby himself made light of them — were the 
Prince and Princess of Wales — our present King and 

Notwithstanding his enormous strength, Burnaby 
was not infrequently prostrated by illness and racked 
with pain, and he used to say that he had had every com- 
plaint in the pharmacopoeia. From liver trouble and 
dyspepsia he was scarcely ever free, and he often com- 
plained that the vulture of Prometheus had fastened 
upon his viscera, and refused to be driven from its prey ; 
but though he systematically combated this vulture by 
means of early rising, active exercise, and the austerity 
of an anchorite, it must be admitted that he sometimes 
heedlessly encouraged it. Thus he made many extra- 
ordinary wagers. One was that he would reduce himself 
four stone in as many months ; and by means of Turkish 
baths and a quantity of Cockle's pills, a commodity in 
which he had unshakable faith, he attained his end ; 
but on winning the wager he walked straight to the Old 
University Club, where in the company of his father he 
indulged in a meal such as even he had never before 

" It is only after a long fast," he said, " that you can 
really appreciate a good dinner." The result was a swift 
and almost incredible addition to his weight ; but whether 
this Gargantuan feast following immediately a prolonged 
fast was beneficial to that liver, of whose vagaries he so 
often complained, is perhaps open to doubt. 

Another of his bets was that he would run, row, ride, 
hop, and walk five successive quarters of a mile within one 
quarter of an hour ; and a boat and a horse having been 
stationed in readiness on the banks of the Thames, he set 
himself to the feat, which he performed in less than 
thirteen minutes. 

An excellent rider, he gave his horses such Bible names 
as Beelzebub, Ahasuerus and Belial ; while a favourite 
Pomeranian dog answered to the name of Nimshi. 

Shortly after the balloon voyage to Bedford, Mr. Westcar 


burnaby's ELDER SISTER. 

Said to have been the most beautiful woman of her time. 


invited Burnaby to a country house, where he had 

hired the shooting. The guns were no 

sooner out, than it became evident that li— A Shooting 

there were very few birds ; and both West- Fracas. 

car and Burnaby took the owner of the 

land — a big, burly fellow named Hooker — severely to 


' Perhaps," said Mr. Hooker, .sarcastically, " you 
think I've been over the ground before." 

Burnaby having replied with a sarcasm, Mr. Hooker, 
who confused him with someone else, made a serious 
charge against him, whereupon Burnaby gave his accuser 
a thrashing. 

The latter retaliated bv bringing against Burnabv an 
action, which was tried in the Court of Exchequer at 
Westminster, before Mr. Baron Martin. Mr. (afterwards 
Baron) Huddleston appeared for Burnaby, his attorney 
being a gentleman of the name of Home ; while Serjeant 
Ballantine acted for the plaintiff. The case, which was 
decided against Burnaby, created unusual excitement in 
court, owing chiefly to the violence of the language used 
on both sides. From the judge himself, even, escaped 
some indefensible remarks, which had to be withdrawn ; 
and Evelyn Burnaby could not resist the temptation 
to send him a stinging valentine. Indeed, to quote the 
report of the Blues' riding-master, who was present on 
the occasion, "it was hawful 'ot in that court. There 
was Eenan* and Orne, Uddleston and Ooker| all a fight- 
ing like hanything." 

For long the Rev. Gustavus Burnaby had nursed the 
hope of being able to present himself to both the Leices- 
tershire livings of Somerby and Burrough, 12 — The Rev. 
but the Pluralities Bill introduced by his Gustavus 

Leicestershire neighbour, Mr. Frewin, of SomTrby^Vnd 
Cold Overton (M.P. for Brighton), who by June, 1866. 
the by was a man of enormous size,f had made that 

* Burnaby. 

■j" He weighed 20 stone. He had a special mahogany bedstead made for 


impossible ; and, as a result, his attitude towards Mr. Fre- 
win was one of hostility. However, feeling his years 
increasing, and prompted by the desire to spend the 
remainder of them at Somerby Hall, he in 1866, after 
having officiated at St. Peter's for thirty-one years, 
exchanged livings with the Rev. S. Rolleston, of Somerby. 
The Rev. Gustavus, it seems, was far too much of an 
autocrat to please the people of that parish. To one 
encroachment on their rights, or supposed rights, after 
another the people grumblingly submitted, but when 
the old gentleman proposed to Avail in the village pond, 
the parish, backed by Mr. Frewin, not only broke into 
open rebellion, but boldly dared him to make the at- 
tempt ; and henceforth there were continual broils. 
A little later certain sanitary improvements were pro- 
posed in the village, and a public meeting was held, 
among those present being the Sanitary Inspector and 
the Rev. Gustavus. There was much discursive talk 
on the occasion about " nuisances," and various persons 
expressed their opinions and aired their grievances. 
At last a purple-faced farmer got up, and addressing the 
Sanitary Inspector said, after mopping his forehead with 
a huge bandana, " I'll tell ye what it is, mister, the big- 
gest nuisance in this here parish is our old parson." 
The meeting roared, the Rev. Gustavus, who like the 
rest of his family, had a keen sense of the ridiculous, 
joining in the laughter ; nor was he seriously perturbed 
when somebody tarred on his entrance gates 
" Nuisance Hall." 

Unlike his father, Fred, who was often at Somerby 
on leave, was really popular in the neighbourhood. 
His arrival indeed was always the signal for excitement 
and joviality. At one time or another he must have 
boxed with almost every inhabitant. Among those 
who faced him and showed excellent though futile 
fight, was the local policeman, and it is recalled that after 
a particularly good bout on Burrough Hill,* Fred pre- 
sented his opponent with a sovereign. 

* A Roman encampment a mile and a half from Somerby. 


To the irrefutable delinquencies of the Rev. Gustavus 
the inhabitants of Burrough most unkindly added one 
of which he was certainly innocent. There is a story to the 
effect that he removed one of the Somerby bells to Bur- 
rough ; and the Burrough people, as receivers, are sup- 
posed to have been as culpable as the reverend gentle- 
man. Consequently when Burrough man bites thumb 
at Somerby man, the latter never neglects to include 
among other disparaging insinuations, " Who stole the 
Somerby bell ? " Indeed, if you go to Burrough belfry 
and ask the ringers which is the Somerbv bell, thev will 
point it out and say, " This one." It matters not that 
the Rev. G. E. Britten, the present Vicar of Somerby, 
has carefully investigated the tradition, and has explained 
in a lucid and amusing paper* how the error arose, 
the bell of Burrough will to the end of time be pointed 
to in proof of the authenticity of the story ; and to the 
end of time, too, there will be bad blood between Somerby 
men and Burrough men, while the memory of a perfectly 
innocent, if exasperating, old gentleman will be saddled 
with a misdeed which he never committed, and which 
was never committed by anyone. 

As years passed by Mr. Burnaby jogged along after a 
fashion with his parishioners, but he always regretted 
having left Bedford ; he became as melancholy as the 
padge-owl that hooted in his park ; and he could never 
quite forgive Mr. Frewin. One day Mr. Frewin was 
thrown out of his carriage. " Fortunately," com- 
mented Mr. Burnaby, ' ' he fell on his head, and therefore 
was not hurt." There is, however, another version of 
this anecdote, according to which the reverend gentle- 
man did not say " Fortunately," but " Unfortunately," 
which was even more caustic. A memorial of one of 
Fred's visits to Somerby is still standing in the village — 
in the shape of a row of cottages, with a stone carved 
" F.G.B., 1862," which his father bought and presented 
to him in order to secure him a vote.| 

* A Stolen Church Bell. Printed in the Grantham Journal, i6th, April, 1904. 
■\ In anticipation of his 21st birthday which would fall on 3rd, March, 1S63. 


Aeronautics still occupied most of Fred's spare time. 

Hitherto balloons had been absolutely at the mercy of 

the winds, but he believed that it would 

—An Accident k e possible to guide them ; and it was 

in * \i g Ail 1 

1867. to the discovery of this secret that his 
studies were chiefly directed. While he 
was thus employed, his attention was drawn to an 
advertisement which stated that a French aeronaut 
had at last invented a controllable aerostat, in which 
he intended to make an ascent from Cremorne. Burnaby 
at once went to see the machine, which turned out to be, 
not an ordinary pear-shaped balloon, but an object some- 
thing like a gigantic barrel pointed at both ends, while 
it was provided with wheels and screw-fans which, 
according to the Frenchman, made it controllable. 
Though Burnaby had little faith in the invention, he was 
prepared to add to his experiences, especially as the ex- 
periment seemed likely to prove a dangerous one ; so he 
expressed his intention of accompanying the Frenchman 
on the journey. On the day fixed upon, the aerostat 
was filled, but Burnaby noticed a serious defect in it, 
namely, that the neck, owing to its distance above the 
car, would be out of reach during the voyage. However, 
he took his seat with the Frenchman and his assistant ; 
and, amid the cheers of an expectant crowd, the aero- 
nauts commenced turning the wheels. The fans revolved 
at a tremendous pace, the aeronauts perspired, the 
spectators laughed, but nothing happened. At last 
Burnaby, who had lost all patience, seizing an oppor- 
tunity when the Frenchman was looking another way, 
caught up a bag of ballast and dropped it over the side 
of the car. The aerostat at once rose, and the French- 
man, believing the movement to be the result of his 
machinery, called on his crew to make even more strenu- 
ous exertions. The course lay over the Thames, but 
Burnaby could see that there was no directing at all — 
that they were, indeed, as much at the mercy of the wind 
as if their air-ship had been of the ordinary pear-shape. 


J W. PROWSE, (of the Daily Telegraph), and others in the 

enormous hot-air balloon, The Eagle, 21st Jul}-, 1864. 


However, novelty was something but when they were 
at a height of some 3,000 feet, the Frenchman, happening 
to look up, suddenly became alarmed. The balloon 
was fully distended, but the neck, which should have 
been left open for the escape of gas, was tied securely with 
a silk pocket handkerchief. Seeing that, as we said be- 
fore, there was no possibility of getting to that neck, 
it was clear to probation that, owing to the continual 
expansion of the gas, the balloon must burst. It was a 
critical and exciting situation. They were 3,000 feet 
above London — a minute or two more, thought Burnaby, 
and we shall be found lying smashed beyond recognition 
in one of those fatal streets. The three men gazed at one 
another without being able to speak. They were absol- 
utely helpless. How long that terrible silence lasted they 
knew not. It might have been a few seconds. It 
seemed hours. At last there came a cracking noise, 
" which," says Burnaby, " reminded me of the sound 
in a ball room when an awkward man treads on a lady's 
dress." It was then seen that the balloon had split 
well nigh from neck to top. The gas rushed out through 
the rent, the balloon fell with frightful rapidity, and the 
three men gave themselves up for dead. By a miracle, 
however, the pressure of the descending bag of silk 
on the atmosphere, caused the loAver part of the balloon 
to be forced into the upper portion of the netting, thus 
forming an object like a pent house, which acted as a 
gigantic parachute. This lessened the velocity of the 
fall, and a little later the aeronauts dropped into a grass 
field, about three miles from the place where the accident 
had happened. 

Burnaby's reckless deeds led many of his acquaint- 
ances, and especially Westcar, to believe that his chances 
of reaching even middle life, w r ere slight. 
Once at a dinner party at the horse guards, ^ s « h »r t bac t h 
Burnaby, Westcar, Glaisher and Coxwell, p i e . 

being present, the conversation ran on the 
probabilities of their various lives. 


" You and Captain Burnaby," said Coxwell, addressing 
Westcar, " will make history in aeronautics long after 
my time." 

"It is not unlikely," said Westcar, " that you may 
outlive both of us." 

Coxwell, who was twenty-three years Burnaby's 
senior, shook his head, but to use his own expression, 
uttered long afterwards, he " saw both of those noble 
fellows out." 

In July, 1867, Burnaby was prostrated with gastric 
catarrh ; and in the hope of benefitting by the waters 
of Schwalbach,* he made a journey thither in the com- 
pany of Evelyn. A steady improvement in his health 
having after a time taken place, the brothers departed 
for Nice, where Fred, who had a premonition that he 
was destined to be mixed up with the Eastern Question, 
set himself to the study of Russian. In the company 
of his instructor, Mr. Hoffman, he took long walks 
talking Russian all the way, and by the time his health 
was completely restored he had — such were his linguistic 
gifts — thoroughly mastered the language. . While the 
brothers were in the town, Evelyn, somehow, became 
embroiled with a Polish prince, who took an early oppor- 
tunity of expressing to Fred his desire to fight a duel. 

" My dear sir," said Fred, glancing with half shut eye 
down at the bellicose gentleman, " I don't see how it can 
be managed, for as my brother is studying for the Church 
his hands are, so to speak, tied ; but," he added, with 
a characteristic twinkle in that same eye, " rather than 
you should be disappointed, I'll fight for him." 

The Pole, who was perfectly conversant with Fred's 
achievements both as a swordsman and a shot, raised 
what Fred called " some absurd difficulty," and nothing 
further was heard of the matter. 

* Near Wiesbaden. 


1st january 1868 november 1870. 

In Spain and Morocco, 

1. Letters to Vanity Fair, the first number of which 

appeared 7th November 1868. Burnaby's first 
letter is dated 19th December 1868. All his letters 
are entitled Out of Bounds, and signed Convalescent. 

2. Letters to the Morning Post in 1869 and subsequently. 

For some years one of Burnaby's principal friends 

had been Mr. Thomas Gibson Bowles — indeed they were 

almost like brothers; and towards the 

15— Mr. Thomas i «..„,»„■■■■ t» % t-. i j 

Gibson Bowles, end of 1868 Mr. Bowles, Burnaby and 

Z a n ity F 4 a t' an °ther gentleman with literary tastes — 
Mr. Charles Waring — decided to establish 
a Society newspaper. Burnaby, whose intimate con- 
nection with Bedford had saturated him with the Pil- 
grim's Progress, suggested as its title, Vanity Fair. 
The first number appeared on 7th November, 1868, 
and from its inception the venture — " a sin of my youth " 
— as Mr. Bowles penitently calls it, seems to have pros- 
pered — in the sense that the public were ready to pur- 
chase it. Among the earliest contributors was Captain 
Cockburn, of the 2nd Life Guards — " Cocky," as he was 
called- — a fine classical scholar and a writer of sinewy 
and flexible English ; and Burnaby, who still suffered 
from ill-health, volunteered to visit Spain and send home 
a series of letters from that country. Although Vanity 
Fair had, and has always had, a staff of exceptionally 

(47) F. 


gifted writers, its weekly picture has, nevertheless, 
from the very first, overshadowed its piquant letter-press. 
It is almost needless to observe that the cartoons of 
Vanity Fair are world-famous, and that a public man 
who finds himself caricatured in this way, considers 
himself honoured. But a different condition of things 
once prevailed, and during the paper's early career, 
there ensued endless trouble, owing both to picture and 
print. " These boys," observed Mr. Bowles, to the 
writer — alluding to Cockburn, Burnaby, and others — 
" were continually getting me into hot water." The 
paper, indeeed, was a source of perpetual anxiety to all 
concerned. Burnaby discontinued connection with it 
after two or three years, in obedience to the command 
of the Duke of Cambridge ; and ultimately — in 1887 — 
Mr. Bowles himself was glad to shift the burden on to the 
shoulders of another. 

We said that Burnaby's reason for wishing to visit 
Spain was in order to build up his health, but there was 
another reason. The flight of Queen 
16— At Pau, 16th l sa bel had been followed by the formation 
of a provisional government, and the 
country was on the eve of a revolution. 
" In Spain," he argued, " there will be no lack of excite- 
ment, and I shall have every opportunity of studying 
my profession." As part of his luggage, he carried with 
him a sack of fat bacon, which, together with the climate 
of Seville, would, he asseverated, completely restore him 
to health. 

His first stopping place was the French town of Pau, 
and his first letter — signed, like all that followed, " Con- 
valescent " — is dated 19th December 1868. A night 
or two after his arrival he was alarmed by the cry of 
" Fire ! " but on dashing into the street he saw, to his 
surprise, the people running, not to the fire, as they do in 
England, but helter-skelter from it, and in all directions. 
Having arrived before the burning house, he found it 
guarded by soldiers. As soon as he presented himself, 


however, an officer approached him and said II faut 
travailler, monsieur ; and straightway he was pressed 
into one of three lines of workers who were passing as 
many rows of buckets from some water supply to the 
hand pumps ; and although in evening dress he com- 
plied with the order. But the experience was not an 
agreeable one, for the next man, as often as not, spilt half 
the water over him, instead of handing it on properly ; 
and he was not long in grasping the townsfolk's reason 
for running from the fire instead of to it. At a moment, 
however, when the soldiers were not looking he set down 
his bucket and slipped away, leaving the hand engines 
squirting with absolute ineffectiveness against the fire ; 
which, as he afterwards learnt, burnt itself out. 

Wherever he went, Burnaby made it his business to get 
sight of everything worth seeing. Thus at Pau he visited 
the establishment maintained by the French Government 
for the purpose of improving the breed of horses, and he 
paid a high tribute to the hygienic arrangements of the 
building and the general excellence of the system. 
He saw much in the neighbourhood to amuse him ; 
but nothing appealed so strongly to his sense of the 
ridiculous as the local hunt. Having from his child- 
hood followed the hounds in the finest hunting centre 
in England — the Melton Mowbray district, and being 
on terms of intimacy with the hardest riders of the time, 
he was prepared to make large allowance for Pau, but it 
never occurred to him that things would be quite so 
absurd as they proved. The field was cosmopolitan, 
but chiefly French, English and American in an astound- 
ing variety of get-ups, while Burnaby himself could pro- 
cure nothing better than a ridiculous short-legged horse, 
named Hercule, with the result that his own very long 
legs almost touched the ground. He was informed, 
as matter for congratulation, that there were no obstacles 
in the way, moreover that the fox, besides being a bagged 
one, was to have " his natural fragrance enhanced by a 
liberal douche of aniseed." So strong, indeed, was the 


aniseed that, according to Burnaby any average-nosed 
mortal could have dispensed with the hounds altogether. 
For ten whole minutes Hercule did his best with the 
enormous weight on his back, but subsequently he slack- 
ened, and finally stood stock-still in the middle of a 
ploughed field. However, after reasonable breathing 
time he was induced to move on again, and, with the 
help of a short cut, enabled his rider to be in at the death. 
The whole affair lasted just twenty minutes, and one 
of the French chasseurs, after declaring that the sport had 
been exceptionally magnifique, volunteered the informa- 
tion that Pau was the Melton Mowbray of France. 

From Pau, Burnaby crossed to the frontier town of 
St. Sebastian, whose fortifications he found mounted 

with antique guns, which bade fair to be 

17— In Seville, m ore damaging to their owners than to the 

1869. enemy ; and thence, in order to avoid the 

rigours of a Pvreneean winter, he hurried 
southward. He found Madrid in a political ferment — 
Carlists, Royalists and Republicans all vituperating 
one another in the day time, but sitting side by side, 
nevertheless, in perfect amity at night while they wit- 
nessed the popular can-can, which was the principal at- 
traction at most of the theatres. Cock-fights were held 
regularly on Sunday mornings. " A first class bull- 
fight " Burnaby did not see, owing to the fact that the 
bulls are " not game in cold weather," but he attended 
several drums and balls. The loveliness of " the clusters 
of choice exotics " — that is to say, the Spanish ladies — 
at these gatherings quite took him by surprise ; he marked 
" the coquetry which gives dancing its sweetness and 
bitterness all over the world, "and he expressed his 
opinion that many travellers have left Spain without 
forming the slightest idea of the wealth of beauty con- 
cealed within its boundaries. From Madrid he proceeded 
to Seville, where he also figured in the ball rooms, 
and the bronzed and dark-eyed Andalusian beauties 
were proud to have as partner the tall and handsome 


Juan Ingles (John Bull), who was the source of joy and 
gaiety in everyone who came into contact with him. 
Nothing amused him more than the custom of the men, 
as well as the women, of carrying to the theatre longish 
bags of dulces — sweetmeats made of cream, crushed fruit 
and powdered sugar ; and on one occasion he handed 
a bag time after time to a pretty girl, just to see how 
many she would eat. She put ten between her lips, 
and then reluctantly confessed herself vanquished. 

In a letter to his father of February 16th, he says 
after referring to the hospitality of his friends, " I have 
just been calling on the daughter of the 18 _ Burnaby as a 
Marquis Sancha Scha, and they have Troubadour, 
been arranging theatricals in which I am ^isS^'' 

to play the part of an enraptured lover. 
They have given me a book of thirty pages to learn by 
heart, bad enough in one's own language, but the devil 
in a strange one. What did vou think of the last two 
letters in Vanity Fair ? They give more idea of Spanish 
life and customs than you will see in any books published 
on Spain, which in fact are written by travellers who 
know nothing of the country, its habits or language. 
We had a curious performance last Sunday at the theatre 
— ' The Passion of our Lord.' There was immense ap- 
plause when it was finished, and the actor who represented 
our Saviour, having been unfastened from the Cross, 
came to the footlights and bowed to the audience. 
There was a good deal of crying amongst the women in the 
gallery while our Saviour was being scourged, as it was 
done in such a natural manner that they took it in earnest." 

The acting altogether, it seems, quite exceeded the 
expectations of the audience, for when in the final scene, 
" Judas very successfully hanged himself, the applause 
was so deafening that he had to reappear and hang him- 
self over again." 

The letter concludes : " You have no idea of this clim- 
ate ; it is too lovely. Nice is no more to be compared to 
it than London is to Bedford." 


In another letter (written to his brother Evelyn, 18th 
February 1869), we hear more about the enraptured 

" I am going," says Burnaby, " to act the lover to a 
bright-eyed Spanish girl this evening in some private 
theatricals. You would laugh if you could see my get- 
up — an enormous cloak and broad brim crowned hat. 
One of the necessary things in the role is to sing an amor- 
ous ditty below the window, but as I have no more voice 
than an old crow, it has been settled that I am to go 
through the pantomime with a guitar, and another 
(a concealed) Lothario, is to pipe a strain to the fair lady. 
What a pity it is I was not born a ' Mario ' ; it is humiliat- 
ing, to say the least, making love under false pretences, 
even though one does have the post of honour in the 

Vanity Fair has a capital caricature of Bright this 
week.* I begin to think my share in that speculation 
looks promising. My cold is all right, but my old liver 
will not leave me in peace. Love to all, and wishing that 
Madame Rachel could renovate your gullet and my liver 
as easily as she makes antiquities beautiful for ever." 

In a letter of 7th March, Burnaby continues his account 
of the incidents of Passion Week. He says " We are 
to have the Veil of the Temple Scene to- 
19— At a morrow in the Cathedral, that is a large 
Tentadero. white veil is hung over the altar ; and dur- 
ing the mass, fireworks are let off, and the 
veil is split from top to hottom in order to represent 
the rending of the veil of the Temple, but you will see it 
all described in the Morning Post and Vanity Fair.''' 

In the next letter, which is undated, he gives some 
account of his studies. He says " I get up at 8.30, to 
have a Spanish lesson from 9.15 to 10.45, breakfast at 11, 
and then go to the barber's, walk about till 12.30, when 
I return and study Russian till 1.30, when I have another 
Spanish master, who comes till 2.30. After which I 

* Vanity Fair, 13th February, 1S69. 


pay visits till 4, write letters at the club or read papers 
from 4 till 5, and then go out for a stroll. I dine at 6. 
At 7.30 I return to the club and talk and chafT till 9.30, 
when I go to some reunion or other till 12. We have 
an immense procession to-day in favour of freedom of 
worship and abolition of the army. These Radicals 
would abolish everything if they could. I am busy 
learning another language, not a verbal one, but a more 
expressive one. You have heard, of course, that the 
Spanish seiioritas are celebrated for the way they manage 
their fans. A very pretty little Andalusian is teaching 
me the language of the fan, and as there are some 200 
signs with it, it is not so easv as one would think. 

A little later Burnaby made one at a tentadero, or bull- 
fight rehearsal, a dangerous amusement which was taken 
part in by some twenty Andalusian horsemen. After 
a ten mile ride — Burnaby's mount being ' ' a low horse " — 
(his usual luck) — they came to a grassy expanse where 
eighty bulls were grazing. The object of the company 
was to test the individual courage of the members of the 
herd. A specimen having been selected, one of the 
horsemen approached, and precisely at the moment 
when the creature's hoofs were in the air, struck it above 
the tail, causing it to roll over. When it rose the same 
process was repeated again and again ; until at last the 
bull turned upon and charged at his tormentor. Then 
another horseman, a picador, approached on a poor hack 
which had been blindfolded, and he received the bull's 
charge upon his spear. As the bull, instead of retiring 
after this result, returned and made another attack, 
he was honoured by being termed a muy guapo, that is to 
say, an animal fit for the arena. If on the contrary 
he had turned tail, he would have been greeted with 
abuse, and condemned to pass the rest of an ignoble 
life in agricultural pursuits. The same experiment was 
repeated with other bulls. 

Although Burnaby's companions were, as he subse- 
quently discovered, all men of aristocratic birth, the 


luncheon that followed was of a curiously unceremonious 
character. They helped themselves to meat at the point 
of their knives, putting it to their lips in great lumps ; 
and drank wine from a goatskin provided with a wooden 
tap, everyone in turn applying his mouth. Then the 
bull-baiting was renewed. At five o'clock, or thereabouts 
the sport came to an end, and the party prepared for 
a brobdingnagian debauch. But having already tested 
the wine, which he found heady, Burnaby could see that, 
as a temperate man, he would, if he stayed to the feast, 
be regarded only as a marplot and a bore. So he cour- 
teously thanked his friends, bade them adieu, and rode 
back on his " low horse " to Seville. 

At the inns and other places where he put up, he had 
to endure considerable discomfort ; but he was at all 
times a cheery traveller, and rarely complained about 
his hosts, no matter what part of the world he happened 
to be exploring. He entered with spirit into the fun 
of the great Seville fair ; and obtained enjoyment from 
booth, cattle sale and dance ; but above all from the 
bright eyes of the beautiful and voluptuous Andalusian 
girls who were seductively attired in ?naja, a hat perched 
coquettishly on the side of the head, a short black velvet 
jacket, a white faja or sash-like belt, which supported a 
red skirt reaching to the ankles, the whole culminating 
in the tiniest shoes with bewitching red bows and silver 
clasps. In Spain married ladies hardly ever dance, and 
a pretty little senora, who had been married only three 
months, put on a puritanical air, and affected to be 
rather shocked at what was going on. " Pacific dances," 
she said to Burnaby, " such as quadrilles I can under- 
stand, but valses never." 

" To the pure," observed Burnaby, " all things are 
pure, even the valse"; upon which she menaced him 
with her fan, and called him a naughty, wicked, un- 
believing libertad-de-cultos- wishing heretic, who ought 
to know better. 

At Cadiz he was invited to a shooting party. When 


all things had been made ready and the company were 
seated, the keeper brought a number of bushes, with 
which he hedged in the sportsmen, and then he carried 
some cages containing tame partridges to a spot twenty 
yards distant. 

" Are the partridges about to be let loose ? " enquired 

The reply came, with a laugh, " Oh no ! you do not 
understand. At this time of the year the male birds are 
very brave and amorous ; so we catch some hens and 
train them to call, and we shall soon see their novios 
answering the invitation and strutting up to their sweet- 

At that moment two gallant little cavaliers flew up, 
and settled near the cages. This was the signal for a 
general volley, and the victims fell. 

" Why did you not shoot ? ' enquired the person 
who had volunteered the information. 

" Why," replied Burnaby, veiling to the best of his 
ability, the contempt which he felt for the sport, " I 
thought five guns enough for two birds, particularly as 
they were sitting." 

" Ah yes," followed the man, who quite missed the 
sting of Burnaby's speech, " we always shoot when they 
are sitting if possible." 

On March 15th (1869) Burnaby, writing to his father, 
says : "I came here (to Cadiz) last Saturday, and am 
going the day after to-morrow over to Africa for a few 
days. It is pleasant here, but not more than 110 degrees 
of heat, which is not half enough for me. Most of the 
houses are riddled with shot holes, the effects of the late 
riots. There will probably be another riot before long, 
as the Government are aware that the people have 
enormous quantities of arms stored away ready to use on 
the first favourable opportunity. I have been rather 
idle in writing to the papers lately, as what with keeping 
up my Russian and moving from place to place, one has 
little time for that sort of correspondence." 

E 2 


The proposed journey to Tangiers was made on March 
16th, by means of a local ferry boat ; and Burnaby 
had scarcely arrived in the town before 
20 -The Moorish \ ie formed the acquaintance of a young 
Girls? Frenchman, who undertook to show every- 
thing worth seeing. Burnaby observed 
that he had a particular desire to see an exhibition of 
Moorish dancing girls. Few travellers, he tells us, 
had, up to that time at any rate, " seen the real thing," 
dragomen and guides being in the habit of putting off 
their employers with a spurious article — namely a collec- 
tion of Jewish girls made up in Moorish fashion. ' They 
go through a Hebrew jig, which the innocent traveller 
imagines to be the genuine thing. But it is as different 
from it as an ordinary valse from the true habanera." 
Having disguised himself and Burnaby as Arabs — and 
Burnaby's oriental features looked extremely well in a 
burnous — the Frenchman made his way into the native 
quarter of the town, and succeeded in engaging the ser- 
vices of four dancing girls, whom he managed to smuggle 
into the room which he and Burnaby had hired. The 
dance was as novel as it was fascinating. While two of 
the dark-eyed damsels tum-tummed on a kind of harp, 
the dancers threw themselves into graceful poses and 
performed evolutions that baffled description. In the 
midst of the performance, however, a thundering beating 
was heard at the door, and the master of the house 
rushed in, exclaiming, in tones of abject fear, that the 
Pasha had discovered that there were Moorish girls with 
uncovered faces dancing before infidels, and that he had 
sent a guard of soldiers to search the house. If the dam- 
sels proved to be Moorish, they were to be imprisoned. 

The girls, seized with panic, fled to the top of the house, 
whence they hoped to escape over the neighbouring flat 
roofs. The Frenchman drew a sword cane. Burnaby, 
who was weaponless, snatched up a bed-post, and a lively 
scuffle ensued. Eventually the soldiers were worsted, 
and they made their way out, cursing the infidels with 


loud and savage curses, and cursing also the infidels' an- 
cestors for at least two generations back. As the sol- 
diers were running off some Jews came up and beat them 
without mercy, whereupon the soldiers ran faster than 
ever to the Pasha, who no doubt, gave them another 
beating for returning without the girls. So ended an 
adventure which was precisely to Burnaby's taste, and 
which might have been taken bodily out of The Arabian 

In a letter written from Tangiers to his sister Annie, 
Burnaby, after expressing the hope that " the dear old 
governor," who had been unwell, had " got right again," 
says, " I came here last Tuesday. It is a wild and un- 
civilized place with inhabitants almost naked, and savage 
to the last degree. But you will read in Vanity Fair an 
account of the goings on. I find I can make myself 
understood among the Arabs by a sort of mixture of 
French, English, Spanish and Russian, and it is rather 
amusing inventing a language to speak to them in. 
I have bought you some Spanish slippers, which I 
hope you will like. I had some good fun the other day 
at Gibraltar in the hotel. A Belgian officer wished to 
make love to the wife of a Spaniard, who was quite deaf, 
and he asked me to interpret his compliments for him, 
and so he began in French to me. I translated it into 
Spanish to the Spaniard's little daughter, and the child 
bawled the compliments into the mother's ear. The 
lady smiled very contentedly at the Belgian, who was 
scowled at by the Spanish husband, while the other 
people staying in the hotel were greatly amused." 

His next letter was written from Madrid. After ex- 
pressing his fondness for the city, he says " All the 
embassy people are very civil, and got me directly into 
the principal club. They play rouge et noir here, and 
also monte, in fact these fellows are always gambling. 
The picture gallery is very interesting. It is by way of 
being the first in the world. All the best of Murillo's 
pictures are here I have great fun, now I 


can thoroughly speak the language, talking to the 
Spaniards about bull -fighting. ' Ah,' they say, ' a bull- 
fight is the finest sight in the world.' So I say to them, 
' Oh, but you should see a man-fight* which we have in 
England, that is something like a fight ' ; and then they 
always say, ' How cruel and barbarous you English 
are ! ' If you see any more letters in the Morning 
Post signed An Idler in Spain, you will know who is the 
author. There may be one some day this week. I am 
quite a regular Spaniard, as from one week's end to 
another, I never speak English. There is sure to be a 
civil war in Spain, which will probably break out the end 
of March, and which will cost an immense amount of 
bloodshed, as the parties are very evenly divided." 

In due time Burnaby found his way back to England, 
taking with him the promised slippers for his sister 
and various presents for his friends, including a beautiful 
copy of Don Quixote for Mr. Bowles. 

* Burnaby was present at the great fight between Tom Sayers and 
Heenan and at other similar events. 


december 1870 november 1874. 

In Russia and Italy. Adventures in the Carlist 



3. Letters to the Times. Written from Spain, August — 
October 1874. 

Towards the end of 1870 the Rev. Gustavus Burnaby's 
health began to decline ; but by December he was con- 
valescent, and Fred, who had for long 
21— In Russia wished to visit Russia, thought he might 
Dec. 1870. safely set out. On reaching Moscow he 
wrote as follows to his sister Annie : 

December 1870. 
I left St. Petersburg yesterday at 12 mid-day, and 
arrived here at 10 this morning. The weather was some- 
thing awful — 22 degrees below zero, with a cutting wind, 
and I got my ear frost-bitten going to the station ; but 
once inside the railway train everything was all right, 
as the carriages are admirably warmed with double win- 
dows to prevent the cold from getting in, and a stove in 
every compartment. Do write me a line to say how the 
dear old governor is, and please cut out and send me here 
any letters which may appear in the Morning Post. 
A little later he wrote as follows to his father : 

Thursday, December 29th, 1870. 


, r .q-in-the toOUiitaiB* 
qt Mary s *■» H 

Littleton, »•■ *- 


Dear old Governor, 

I hope this letter will find you better and yourself 
again. I like Moscow much better than St. Petersburg, 
but notwithstanding the brightness of the climate, it 
does not agree with me, and I shall not stay here long 
as my liver is like a Strasburg goose's in size, but in the 
course of three weeks I shall leave for Kief and Odessa, 
and then work round by steamer to Constantinople 
and Spain ; I do not know if my letters reach the Morn- 
ing) P(ost), but I flatter myself that the last two or three 
have been very good works of composition. The friends 
of the Berosdines called on me yesterday, and I went 
in the evening to their house. Madame de Berosdine 
comes to Moscow herself next week, and then I will 
write to you all about them. What a bore my liver is ! 
I put some mustard and cayenne mixed together next 
my skin last night, and I am raw to-day in consequence. 
However, I am getting very near twenty-seven, so I 
suppose it is time to expect some ailments or (other), 
particularly after twelve years racketing about in Lon- 
don. At all events I must congratulate myself that I 
am as well as I am, as poor Adderly, Baring and Westcar* 
my contemporaries are already gone to their account. 
Ask Evelyn to write to me and tell me all the news. By 
the way you have had your Xmas day, and ours has not 
arrived yet. The Russian Calendar is twelve days later 
than the one England and all civilized countries go by. 
Some years ago there was an attempt made by the late 
Czar to change to the modern system of computation, 
but the people were so ignorant that they would not have 
it on any account, as they declared that putting on the 
calendar twelve days would shorten their life by that 
amount of time, and make them twelve days older. 

Good-by, dear old Governor, love to all, 

Your affectionate son, Fred. 

♦Officers in the Blues. Burnaby's other early friends in the regiment 
were Captains Peach, Carew, Hentopp, Harry Womwell, Sir Ernest 
Paget, and Sir Charles Rushout. 


From Moscow he took train to Odessa, although he 
knew that the town was suffering from a severe epidemic 
of cholera. The more dangerous, however, any place 
seemed to be the more attraction for him, it was sure to 
have ; but while he was there, courting trouble which 
did not choose to come, a telegram arrived informing 
him that his father was worse, and he at once turned 
homewards, though he chose, characteristically, the most 
dangerous route, namely, that through Paris, which 
was then in the hands of the Commune. He carried a 
travelling bag, and the regulation cavalry sword, but on 
approaching Paris he hid the sword in one of the legs of 
his trousers, for though he knew that weapons of all 
kinds were forbidden there, he was determined not to be 
without it. On his arrival, however, he was at once 
arrested by an officer of the Commune, who, struck by the 
peculiar stiffness of his leg, charged him with concealing 
a weapon. The charge was not denied, but, curiously 
enough, nothing more was said ; and Burnaby, the regu- 
lation sword and the hand-bag ultimately arrived safely 
at Somerby, where he had the pleasure of learning that 
his father was in better health. 

With the Colonel of the Blues, Lord Strathnairn, 
Burnaby was on terms of cordial friendship, and he was a 
frequent visitor both at his lordship's 22 _ w - th ,, 
town house, 2, Berkeley Square, and his Prince of 

country seat, Newsell Hall, near Royston. yienna^Lord 
Another guest at Berkeley Square was Strathnairn, 
General Sir Owen Bryne, and it was their ay ' 1872, 

custom after obtaining at midnight an early copy of the 
Times, specially set aside at the office for them, to discuss 
the Eastern question together. At Newsell, when there 
was hunting, Burnaby, owing to his great weight, was al- 
ways given the best mount from the stalls ; but he in- 
finitely preferred the delights of Lord Strathnairn's little 
place in Scotland — Ardroulin Cottage,* which he ever 
associated with deer-stalking, shooting and fishing. 

* Ardgour, Ayr. 


At the end of April 1872, he accompanied the Prince 
of Wales (now King Edward VII. ), in the capacity of 
equerry and A.D.C., to the Vienna Exhibition ; and Lord 
Straithnairn, who was to represent Great Britain at the 
Exhibition, travelled in the same train. In the course 
of the journey the luggage cases which contained Lord 
Straithnairn's jewels and decorations, valued at £2,000, 
were lost, and his lordship was greatly excited and dis- 
tressed. The Prince promptly wrote and telegraphed 
to various officials along the line, but without satisfactory 
reply. Then a goods train caught fire on the route, 
and the Prince and Burnaby passed through the smoking 
debris. When they arrived at Vienna on the 28th, 
nothing had been heard of the jewels. The prince and 
Burnaby went to the Emperor's palace, and Lord Strath- 
nairn to an hotel. Besides being a thorough English 
gentleman and a good soldier, Lord Strathnairn was also 
a very devout man. It was his practice to shut himself 
alone in his chamber and to kneel and pray both before 
and after every meal. At such times his valet, Stephen 
Solly, had to give three knocks at the door and wait for 
the " Come in." On April 29th a message arrived from 
the prince, through Burnaby, that the cases containing 
the jewels and the decorations were found, but that they 
could not arrive in time for the opening of the exhibition. 
Solly knocked at the door, and, obtaining no answer, 
entered the room. His lordship was on his knees at the 
couch, his face buried in his hands. Finding himself 
disturbed, he turned quickly round, and, addressing 

Solly, said " D you, sir. What do you want ? 

Have I not frequently told you not to disturb me at my 
devotions ! " 

The Prince, Captain Burnaby, Sir Owen Bryne and 
Lord Strathnairn were present at the opening of the 
exhibition on May 1st, but his lordship was entirely 
without decoration, for the cases did not arrive till four 
days later. Solly, who was blamed for their loss, 
was peremptorily dismissed ; but Lord Strathnairn, 


being under the necessity of returning home a few days 
later, sent again for him. When Solly re-entered the 
room, his lordship exclaimed passionately, " Go down 
on your knees, sir, and beg my pardon ! I will take you 
to London." 

" The fact was," comments Solly in telling the story, 
" I had to take him, for he was nearly eighty-four and 
could not manage without me." 

After a round of balls, dinner parties, military parades 
and operas, the Prince and Burnaby also returned to 

On reaching London, Burnaby hurried to Upper 
Berkeley Street, in order to see his father, who, while 
staying there, had again been taken ill. 
Deeply moved at the thought of losing a ReY.Gustavus 
beloved parent — for it soon became evident Burnaby, 15th 
that the illness would prove fatal — Burn- 
aby could scarcely ever be prevailed upon to quit the sick 
room ; but in this world the comic always trenches 
on the tragic, and it intruded even upon the last hours 
of the dying gentleman. Mr. Burnaby was deeply at- 
tached to his medical adviser, Dr. Henry Bullock, 
and when informed that his end was near, he said, " I 
wish I could take you with me, Bullock." 

' It is very kind of you to say so," observed the doctor, 
— " most kind." 

Whereupon Fred, with a tear on his cheek and a smile 
on his lips, said, "All the same, father, I don't think 
Bullock really wants to go. Besides, what would a doc- 
tor do there ? " 

Mr. Burnaby died on 15th July, 1872, aged 70, and 
with him passed away a fine old English gentleman- 
imperious and aggressive, but good-natured, manly and 
magnanimous. Whatever his faults, he was of the stuff 
that makes the English a respected and an imperial race. 

After her husband's death Mrs. Burnaby took up her 
residence at 36, Beaufort Gardens, London, and Fred, 
whose grief at the death of his father had been, to use Mr. 


Bowles's expression, " terrible," never allowed a day to 
pass without visiting her. 

In the following year Burnaby, who had provided 
himself with a servant in the person of George Radford, 
a huge trooper in the Royal Horse Guards, 
24— George entered upon the resolve to try to make a 
1873. ' journey to Khiva, which was then threat- 
ened by the Russians, under General 
Kaufmann, and he nursed the hope of being able to be 
with the Khivans at the time of the attack. In pursu- 
ance of this resolution, he set out, accompanied by Rad- 
ford, for Brindisi ; but they had scarcely reached Naples 
when he was taken ill with typhoid fever. While he lay 
delirious, the landlord of his hotel wanted to turn him 
out ; but the Duke of Connaught, who happened to be in 
Naples at the time, having been informed of what was 
happening, hurried— true to the tradition of our sym- 
pathetic Royal Family — to visit him, and prevented the 
outrage. Moreover, as soon as it was safe to do so, 
he had Burnaby removed to more comfortable quarters, 
thus, no doubt, saving his life. 

On hearing of her son's illness, Mrs. Burnaby, though 
over seventy years of age, straightway went out to nurse 
him, taking with her, as she supposed, a trusty servant. 
But one trouble followed hard on another, for the girl, 
who soon after their arrival gave Burnaby wrong 
medicines, causing him to become worse than ever, 
began to exhibit symptoms of delirium tremens. With 
a sick son and a raving maid, many a younger 
woman would have broken down even at home, but 
Mrs. Burnaby found herself quite equal to the 
exigency ; and, having sent the girl packing back 
to England, she bravely set herself the task of nursing 
her son single-handed. 

Thanks to her devotion and Radford's faithfulness, 
Burnaby was, by and by, able to leave his bed, but to use 
his own expression, " with a sylph-like waist and taper 

X •- 


v v 


Mrs. PAGE. 




form " — having been reduced from eighteen stone to 

As the Khiva journey had now been abandoned, he 
and Mrs. Burnaby, accompanied by Radford, took 
steamer for Seville. 

Some months previous* his brother Evelyn had mar- 
ried a lady of exceptional beauty and personal charm — 
Miss Winifred Crake — who won the affections of every 
member of the family ; and, while Fred was in Seville 
and still in feeble health, there reached him the news 
of this lady's death after childbirth.f His recollection 
of the beautiful character of the poor lady, together with 
his sympathy for his brother, threw him into a paroxysm 
of grief, and, after sobbing long and bitterly, he wrote 
and sent to Evelyn the most tender of brotherly letters. 
" It is very hard to believe she is really dead," it conclu- 
ded, " but Providence works so strangely." 

Then, turning to his mother, he said " You must go 

" I can't leave you in this state," she said. 

" Yes, yes, you must," he followed, " Evelyn wants 
you more than I do." 

So Mrs. Burnaby at once returned to England, and 
Fred remained in Seville, where, thanks to a perfect clim- 
ate and Radford's tender care, he gradually recovered 
his health, and lost his haggard and emaciated looks. 

Spain was at this period in a more disturbed state than 
ever. King Amadeus, who for three years had occupied 
the throne, having abdicated, a republic had been de- 
clared ; and its establishment was the signal for renewed 
efforts on the part of the Carlists who, commanded by 
Don Carlos in person, moved aggressively from their 
northern fastnesses, and threatened, by their enthusiasm 
for the cause, to carry all before them. Burnaby 
straightway determined, contrary to the advice of his 
Seville friends, to try to pass through the Carlist lines, 

* May 1871. 

fDean Hole wrote a poem on the subject. Mrs. Burnaby was only 22. 


and he disclosed his plans to a Spanish Colonel, his 
companion in a railway train. 

" You will have a difficult task," said the Colonel, 
" but there is at Vittoria a rascal in league with the 
Carlists, who could help you. He keeps horses and 
carriages. I ought to have had him shot once or twice, 
but I let him off, so he owes me a good turn, and I 
will speak a word to him for you." 

On reaching Vittoria, where there were numerous 
evidences of war in the way of ruined railway lines and 
blackened dwellings, Burnaby sought out the job-master, 
by whose aid and that of a pair of rustics he reached 
Beasain, where he took a place in the San Sebastian 
diligence. But the travellers had not been half an hour 
on the road before the vehicle was stopped by a party of 
Carlists — stalwart and swarthy, though unsoldierly- 
looking men, who sprang from a thicket, and presented 
bayonets. When Burnaby mentioned his business, how- 
ever, and offered to unpack his luggage, the officer in 
charge, who turned out to be a Castilian of high rank, 
not only declared himself satisfied with the explana- 
tion, but politely offered cigarettes and wine ; and, after 
half an hour's hobnobbing with his new friends, Burnaby 
proceeded unmolested on his way. Several times he was 
stopped by other bands of troops, but by giving the name 
of the first officer, and repeating assurances, he was 
allowed to continue his journey, and in due time, after 
passing through San Sebastian, where deserted trains, 
ruined bridges and smoking villages gave additional 
evidences of war, he reached Irun on the French frontier, 
whence he returned to England. 

For a year or so he contented himself at home, 

but in the autumn of 1874 he arranged to go out to Don 

25— With Don Carlos's headquarters as military corres- 

Carlos, 8th pondent of the Times ; and Radford re- 

Aug. 1874. q Ues ^ e( j to accompany him. 

" But your wife and children ! " ob- 
served Burnaby. " You may be shot." 


" Must die some day," replied Radford. " I might be 
run over by an omnibus at home. I nursed you through 
your fever at Naples, and I may be of further use to you. 
Let me go." 

So Burnaby consented, and they started on August 
8th. Having crossed France, they made their way 
through Bayonne, where they obtained Carlist passports, 
to Biarritz, in order to call on some of Don Carlos's 

" Don't be a fool and go," said one. " You will die 
of starvation and be eaten by fleas," said another. 

" Oh, do tell his Majesty how much we all love him 
and the cause," cried a dark-eyed, raven-locked girl of 
eighteen, and then she added " But why go there ? " 

Since Burnaby had passed through the Carlist lines 
in the course of his previous journey, there had been 
much fighting. Thus on February 23rd, 1874, the Re- 
publicans had been defeated with a loss of 2,000 men, 
but on May 1st they had relieved Bilbao, which had been 
besieged by Don Carlos, who then retired to his fastness 
at Durango — fifteen miles distant. 

Don Carlos, who was extremely desirous of obtaining 
the good will of the British Press gave Burnaby a warm 
welcome, and the friendship which cemented itself 
between them was severed only by death.* In Burn- 
aby's eyes, Don Carlos was well nigh perfection. Like 
Burnaby, he was of magnificent physique ; he firmly 
believed in his star, and had no doubt whatever that he 
would some day sit on the throne of his forefathers. 
He had first come among his people mounted on a 
richly caparisoned Arab charger, and wearing a gold- 
tasselled white boina, accompanied by only twenty-five 
followers ; and the pomp attending his appearance, the 
disproportion between the means apparently at his 
disposal and the success that had rewarded his efforts, 

* In a letter to the Rev. Evelyn Burnaby, dated, 5th Feb., 1908, Don 
Carlos mentions "how very fond" he was of Burnaby, whom he also 
honoured " as a good soldier and a perfect gentleman." 


not only dazzled the imagination of his fellow country- 
men, but struck them as something supernatural. He 
went in and out among his men as if he were one of them, 
shook hands with them, and shared with them their 
horrible Spanish soup ; and they on their part regarded 
him with idolatry, and were willing to follow him even 
to death. As the Biarritz girl had prophesied, Burnaby 
had plenty of hardships to undergo. There were fleas 
everywhere ; but he could always get a little sleep by 
discarding a bed in favour of a plank. For the Carlist 
troops he had nothing but praise. " As for their march- 
ing," he said, " I have never seen their superiors." 
Devout as well as brave, they attended church every 
morning ; and a chaplain, riding at the head of each bat- 
talion, read out prayers and the litany at stated times. 
No halt was made, but the officers and men bared their 
heads. Burnaby's letters to the Times gave a vivid ac- 
count of his experiences, but perhaps his best descrip- 
tion is that of the scenes on a gala day at Alio, the Carlist 
headquarters, when balconies and pillars were festooned 
with coloured shawls, and the soldiers danced national 
dances with the Basque women among flowers and 

Besides being under fire at the battles of Alio, Dicastillo, 
Viana and Maneru, Burnaby and Radford were present 
at the siege of Tolosa and the capture of Estella, where 
the Republican losses amounted to 4,000. Burnaby 
and Don Carlos became inseparables, and English war 
correspondents accompanying the enemy often saw, 
by aid of telescopes, the gigantic Spaniard and the gigantic 
Englishman stalking together on the ramparts of Fort 
San Marcial. Burnaby was often in jeopardy. Once 
when he was calmly watching a fight, a body of the enemy 
turned an angle of a building and delivered from within 
a hundred yards a murderous volley, which brought down 
several men near him. Burnaby, however, coolly re- 
mained standing and chatting on the spot ; nor did he 
depart until the attack had been repulsed. The fighting, 


(From Tin G rapine . 


however, eventually degenerated into guerilla warfare, 
directed by officers whose truculence proclaimed them 
fiends rather than men, and the whole land groaned 
under savagerv and reeked with blood. Nevertheless 
on occasion these lurid scenes mingled with others that 
were purely pantomimic. After the Republicans had 
shelled Fort San Marcial and the fort had replied with no 
casualties for weeks, Mr. Irving Montagu, one of the Eng- 
lish war correspondents, asked an officer to give an ex- 
planation. He replied with gravity, " We can never 
forget that our good enemies opposite are our relations 
and friends ; nor can they, nor can any Spaniards, cease to 
remember that etiquette which is due to those we love, 
and which should ever be extended towards them, 
even in time of war. Hence it is that, by common con- 
sent, we sight our guns, so that in both cases the shot falls 

The guerilla warfare, with its accompaniment of inces- 
sant assassination, at last thoroughly disgusted Burnaby, 
while the playing at soldiers was as little to his taste, 
and but for his admiration of Don Carlos personally he 
would have criticised the later campaign with severity. 
He and Radford left Spain in September, Mr. O'Shea, 
of the Standard, accompanying them ; but in crossing 
the Pyrenees a thrilling incident occurred. At one place 
which it was necessary to pass there were two paths wind- 
ing round a rock, and fifty feet below the lower tinkled 
a shallow stream. Burnaby and Mr. O'Shea took the 
upper path, but they had not gone far when Burnaby 
heard a sound of falling rocks. Looking down he saw 
Radford, whose foot was fast in his stirrup, lying on his 
back, and the horse with only its fore feet on the path and 
its body half over the precipice, while the ground crumbled 
away beneath the exertions of both man and horse to free 
themselves. But just as Burnaby, his heart in his 
mouth, was flying down, with drawn knife to cut Rad- 
ford's stirrup leather and free his foot, Radford, by a 
frantic effort, managed to disentangle himself from the 


stirrup, and the next moment the struggling horse dis- 
appeared over the edge of the precipice. A dull thud 
reached Burnaby's ears as the poor brute struck against 
the rocks below, but, amazing to say, it was not only not 
killed, but hardly the worse for the tumble. Had Rad- 
ford fallen too, however, death would have been certain, 
for he would have been crushed by the weight of the 
horse, which could not possibly have avoided rolling 
over him. When the travellers reached England, Rad- 
ford used to show with pride a horse that had fallen the 
height of Knightsbridge barracks, without the slightest 



In the Soudan with Gordon. 

bibliography : 

4 Letters to the Times, 4th January 1875 to 7th Febru- 
ary 1875. Four letters written from the Soudan — 
January 4th, 13th, February 5th, 7th. 

Of Burnaby's interest in aeronautics we have several 

times spoken, but since those early years he had made 

26— A Scientific many ascents, chiefly with a view to scien- 

B M^Ttomas*' tmc discovery. He kept a common-place 

Wright, 3rd book, which he filled with notes concerning 
'' ' ballooning ; he received newspaper cuttings 
on the subject from all parts of the world ; and he 
nursed the hope of being able, in the company of his 
friend, Lord Manners, of the Grenadier Guards, to cross 
the German ocean in a balloon. In those days the fav- 
ourite place for ascents was the Crystal Palace, and Burn- 
aby, having requested of the management the loan of a 
balloon, was referred to their aeronaut, Mr. Thomas 
Wright, who henceforward figures prominently in his 
career. Mr. Wright's own life has been plentifully 
spiced with romance. Born at Bedford in 1832, and 
apprenticed at Olney, he for a time followed the sea ; 
but after a voyage to the Baltic he, while still a lad, 
cut himself adrift in London, where by courage, industrv 
and perseverance, he steadily made headway. Early 
in 1857 he sailed for America in the Saranac, which on 
nearing New York collided in a dense fog with the Great 




Western. A terrible disaster, however, which would have 
resulted in the loss of 800 lives, was mercifully averted, 
and the passengers of both vessels eventually reached 
land in safety. After romantic experiences in America, 
Mr. Wright returned to England and settled at Poplar, 
where he established a flourishing photographic business. 
Among his customers was the aeronaut, Mr. John Youens, 
and a few days after forming each other's acquaintance, 
they arranged to make an ascent together. ' When," 
says Mr. Wright, recalling the eventful day, " I found 
that we were 4,000 feet high and still rising, I could only 
ejaculate, " Oh lor! Oh dear! I wish I hadn't come ! " 
and he inwardly resolved that should he again reach 
solid earth, and alive — a contingencv which at the time 
seemed more than doubtful — his first ascent should be 
his last. This resolve, however, was certainly not per- 
sisted in, for he lived to make 500 ascents and to become, 
in succession to Mr. Henry Coxwell, the first aeronaut 
of his day, while a whole host of men whose names 
are written boldly in the annals of ballooning — including 
Colonel Burnaby, Sir Henry Colvile, Colonel Templer, 
Captain Josselin Bagot, Major Baden-Powell, Mr. Per- 
cival Spencer, the unfortunate Mr. Walter Powell, M.P., 
and the equally unfortunate Captain Dale — have num- 
bered themselves among his " pupils." At the time 
referred to, Mr. Wright had four very fine, air-worthy 
balloons,* all made under his own supervision and 
varnished by his own handf ; and he suggested that the 
one capable of containing 30,000 feet of gas would meet 
Captain Burnaby's requirements. 

Burnaby replied as follows : 

Hyde Park Barracks, 
September 27th (1874). 

Sir, I think the 30,000 feet of gas balloon would be too 
small for the journey, I propose making, as the weight 

* These were made of unbleached cambric. 

•j - Careful varnishing is of the utmost consequence. 




of myself and friend would be 27 stone or 378 lbs., which 
would leave but a slight margin for ballast, of which we 
should require a large supply, the more particularly owing 
to the power the sea would have in condensing the gas. 
To make the journey to Germany with anything like 
certainty, one would require a balloon holding at least 
50,000 feet of gas, and the more the better. If you should 
know of anyone who has a balloon of that dimension, 
and who would hire it for the occasion alluded to, I 
should be much obliged by your letting me know. I 
hope we may meet some day, as you tell me you are a 
native of Bedford, where I was born. 

Yours very truly, 

Fred Burnaby. 

In reply, Mr. Wright said he could lend a balloon, The 
Duke of Edinburgh, which would, he believed, answer 
Burnaby' s purpose, and a few days later he called by 
request at Knightsbridge Barracks, and made the final 

In the course of the conversation Burnaby asked Mr. 
Wright many questions concerning aeronautics, and the 
latter detailed some of his experiences. " In my early 
days," he said, " I once took up a gentleman connected 
with the Foreign Office, and in descending brought down 
the balloon with such a bump that my companion flew 
out into a field, though happily without injury, while I 
myself shot up again in the balloon, and was soon out of 
sight. My companion, on arriving home, wired to the 
Crystal Palace enquiring where Mr. Wright had come 
down ; and I need scarcely say that the manager who 
saw us go up together thought it a strange question to ask. 
" But," commented Mr. Wright, " I don't do it in that 
way now," with a very distinct emphasis on the last word. 
" Indeed on a calm day I could bring a balloon to earth, 
and there would be no necessity for my companion to 
spill a drop of wine, if he were holding a glass in his hand." 

On November 1st Burnaby, who had for the time being 


given up his idea of attempting to cross the sea, wrote to 
Mr. Wright as follows : 


(1st November 1874). 

Can you have the balloon ready and rilled at the Crystal 
Palace on Tuesday morning next, the 3rd of November, 
at 10 o'clock ? Failing Tuesday, it will be necessary to 
postpone the ascent till next Spring, as Lord Manners 
will be out of town, and I also. Send answer by bearer, 
or if you are not in, telegraph to the Knightsbridge 
Barracks. You will have to communicate, in the event 
of compliance, with the Manager of the Crystal Palace 
immediately — so do not waste any time. The weather 
will make no difference, as fine or foul we should start at 
10 o'clock. 

Yours very truly, 

Fred Burnaby. 

The object of the ascent, which was duly made on 
3rd November, was to test a machine which Burnaby 
had invented for ascertaining the course of the winds 
when the earth and a balloon are separated by clouds — 
a scheme, so to speak, for studding with guide-posts 
the highways* of the air. On these occasions, although 
the balloon may be sailing at the rate of 40 miles an hour, 
nevertheless it appears to be anchored in space and 
utterly motionless. The invention consisted of two 
small silk parachutes, attached to each other by a wind- 
ing reel of cord some thirty yards long. On rising above 
the clouds, Burnaby dropped the parachutes — first one 
and then the other over the side of the car. The travel- 
lers were then able by means of their compass and a 
watch, and " by marking on their chart the reverse 
parts to those on which the two parachutes descended," 
to obtain the true line of their course. The invention 
worked admirably, and the travellers finally descended 

* As the wind blows far more frequently in some directions than others, 
the air like the land may be said to have its highways. See Burnaby's 
reference in Chapter 6 to " the usual journey across Essex." 


at Southminster, Essex, about half a mile from the 
German Ocean. 

The eyes of the world were just then turned towards 
Egypt and to Colonel Gordon, who had been appointed 
by the Khedive head of an expedition for 
the suppression of the Nilotic slave trade 27— Th t e J £ U u n 5 y 
and Governor of the Soudan ; and the Dec. 1874. 

Times requested Burnaby, who leaped 
at the opportunity, to join Gordon and act as their 
correspondent. With his usual promptitude, he made 
straight for Suez, whence he took steamer to Suakim. 

" We were a cheery party on board," he wrote home, 
the Earl of Ranfurly, Earl of Mayo, Lord Coke Russell, 
Sir William Gordon Gumming and myself. They are 
going to shoot in Abyssinia.* 

On arriving at the glittering white town of Suakim, 
he added to his letter, " I have secured an Arab servant — 
a Nubian. He cannot speak a word of English, but I 
can now get on perfectly with the Arabic, and in fact am 
the interpreter of the party." 

Next morning he joined a caravan made up of a num- 
ber of Arabs and twenty camels bound for Berber on the 
Nile. The attire of the Arabs, he tells us, was scanty, 
but the lack of clothing was made up by the magnificence 
of their headgear. The hair of each of the attendants 
was piled to a height of seven inches and beplastered 
with " cosmetics in the shape of liquid fat," and other 

" Very beautiful ! " Burnaby remarked to the Sheik 
of the party who accompanied them a few miles out of the 

The Arab was delighted with the observation, but 
seemed disappointed afterwards, when Burnaby re- 
marked that probably it was worn as a protection from 
the sun. 

" Can the child of the sun fear his father ? " was the 
slightly contemptuous answer; and the Sheik, having 

♦Letter from Suakim, Dec. 29th. 


turned on his heel, strode back to Suakim ; pensively 
scratching his head with a long silver skewer, which he 
wore as a hairpin. 

Their route was marked bv the hu^e skeletons and car- 
cases of camels, and the vultures which had been gorging 
on them hardly troubled to hop ten yards from their 
repast as the travellers approached. 

When nearing Berber, the party met a slave caravan, 
which consisted of some handsomely-dressed Arab 
merchants, behind whom marched in bands of four and 
five, a number of boys and girls, whose ages varied 
from ten to sixteen years, the cavalcade being closed with 
men carrying koorbatches, or long whips, and Nubians 
armed with spears. A skirmish ensued and the slaves 
were captured, though they soon after made their escape. 
However, on reaching Berber, Burnaby's party informed 
the Governor of their experiences, with the result that 
he sent out soldiers, who overtook the fugitives and 
brought them back. " We went to see the slaves in the 
afternoon," said Burnaby, " and if anyone disbelieving 
the cruelties of the slave trade had been there to judge 
for himself he would have been speedily undeceived. 
Twenty boys, with eighteen women and girls, many 
marked with the lash of that fearful instrument, the koor- 
batch, which had been relentlessly applied by the mer- 
chants when the poor worn-out victims flagged in their 
endeavours to toil over the heavy sand, were living wit- 
nesses to the brutalities which had been enacted. The 
slaves, it appears, were to have been sold at Jiddah, and 
would have fetched — the boys some £10 a piece, the 
better looking girls considerably more." — " Whether," 
continues Burnaby, " the slaves will be finally much bene- 
fited is another question ; for the women will be given as 
wives to the Egyptian soldiers ; and the boys enlisted 
in the army, such being the fate that invariably awaits 
all persons taken from traders in human flesh." 

In Berber, Burnabv found a wonderful charm — 
and he carried away in his mind the picture of saffron 



**-e™«cTpM rice,*,* 


ft SE * 



,, EL TEB, Jan.,' 1884 

„ ABU KLEA, Jan., 1885 


plain under violet sky ; while the gatherings of the 
natives by moonlight— the men seated in groups drink- 
ing merissa, and the ringed and radiated girls, lithe as 
leopardesses, singing love songs to the monotonous 
notes of the tom-tom, reminded him of evenings in his 
beloved Spain, and the twanging of the ribboned guitar. 
From this land Of music, merriment, odoriferous gums, 
and great pouched pelicans, he proceeded by river 
slowly southward, passing the mysterious and oraculous 
Meroe, " where the shadow both way falls " — with its 
pyramids that Herodotus gazed upon, its euphorbias 
with uncouth arms, and its sands, that the sandals of 
Candace and the Queen of Sheba must often have pressed. 
On January 20th he reached Khartoum, which had con- 
siderably declined in importance, owing to the suppres- 
sion of the slave trade ; consequently the Germans 
and other Europeans who had lent out money to the 
slavers at 400 per cent., considered themselves hardly 
dealt with. 

The country Burnaby threaded on his way from Khar- 
toum to the Sobat river, proved magnificent in the ex- 
treme. Under noble trees fed herds of gazelles and oriel 
deer ; along the banks swarmed hippopotami and 
crocodiles. Monkevs chattered and swung themselves 
from branch to branch, and the inhabitants of the Fash- 
oda country, who were absolutely naked, though both 
the men and the women dyed their hair yellow, were as 
amusing as the monkeys. 

Arrived at Sobat, Burnaby found it peopled by an 
ebony race of splendid physique — most of the men 
being six feet high — and ruled by a native 
governor of Gordon's appointment. The 28— Gordon, 7th 
slave trade having been all but abolished, Feb., 1875. 

these people lived in quiet and content. 
Two attributes of civilisation — religion and money — 
were quite unknown. With the future, they did not 
trouble themselves ; while, instead of money, they used 
Doura corn. A man who had enough Doura to last 


himself and his family for a week, was regarded as a sort of 
Rothschild. Everyone talked of Gordon, whose kind- 
ness made him universally popular. " You can always 
get more out of a man by kindness," he used to say, 
" than by any other method." One day while Burnaby 
was standing by the river side, the steamer Khedive, from 
Lardo, came in sight. The garrison drew up in its best 
style, a salute was given by the bugler, and then Gordon 
stepped on shore, in company with Lieutenant Watson, 
an officer in the Engineers. The meeting with his great 
idol was a proud moment in Burnaby's life, and the more 
intimate he became with Gordon, the more he admired 
him. After inspecting the garrison Gordon returned 
on board, and there beneath an awning on deck he 
administered justice — censuring or praising, ordering 
reward or punishment as the case required. Some 
thieves were condemned to receive each a hundred lashes 
with a knotted cord ; and a little later they were heard 
" lamenting their fate — calling upon Allah, their fathers, 
mothers, and all their departed relations to intercede 
for them, and not let the blows be quite so hard, but 
just a little, little softer, Bismillah, and in the name of 
Allah and his blessed prophet." 

After witnessing a native dance, in which, while the 
women sang and drums sounded, the men made panther- 
like bounds in the air, Burnaby, who had grown ' ' a huge 
beard," returned to Khartoum,* and Gordon steamed 
back to Lardo. 

* February 1875. 



A Ride to Khiva.* 

On reaching Khartoum Burnaby became the guest 
of a German gentleman ; and he describes himself as 
seated chatting with an Italian, an Arab 
29— To Kasala, an( j another Englishman, while a graceful 
1875. "' girl, with large dark eyes, pearl white 
teeth, olive complexion and oriental dress, 
handed round small cups of coffee. In the midst of 
the conversation Burnaby's eye fell upon a paragraph 
in a newspaper, which stated that the Government at St. 
Petersburg had given an order that no foreigner was to be 
allowed to travel in Russian Asia, and that an English- 
man who had recently attempted a journey in that 
direction had been turned back by the authorities. 
Burnaby, being of a " contradictorious ' spirit, who 
moreover, some years previous had planned a journey to 
Khiva, at once said to himself, half aloud : " Why not 
go to Central Asia ? " and then " Well, I shall try it." 

" You'll never get there," said the other Englishman ; 
" they will stop you." 

" They may if they like," followed Burnaby, " but I 
don't think they will." 

Since Burnaby's former attempt to reach Khiva, 
the Russians had considerably extended their boundaries. 
Samarcand had been annexed, Bokhara was within their 
grasp, and their troops were quartered within a few 

* This chapter is founded on Burnaby's A Ride to Khiva, Vambery's 
Travels in Central Asia, the letters of Colonel Fred Burnaby and the 
Rev. Evelyn Burnaby, and scattered notes made by Colonel Burnaby. 
Two editions of A Ride to Khiva are now on sale, one with illustrations in 
" The Favourite Library " at 3/6, and a popular edition at 6d., both pub- 
lished by Messrs. Cassell. 

(87) G 


miles of Khiva itself. " If," asked Burnaby, " the 
Russians object to foreigners visiting Central Asia, what 
is their reason ? Are the generals in those parts treat- 
ing the conquered tribes with cruelty, and do they live 
in dread lest the outside world should hear of it. If no 
absolute cruelty is being shown to the people, are they 
being badly governed ? Are bribery and corruption 
rife ? Or are the authorities afraid of letting Europe 
know that instead of the tone of morality amid the con- 
quered being raised, the latter are bringing the Russians 
down to the Oriental level ; that, in short, the unspeak- 
able vices of the East are indulged in by some of the 
conquerors." Elsewhere he shows that even if the Rus- 
sians did not actually encourage libertinage, they did 
nothing to prevent it ; that the Bokharan slave mart 
never lacked human merchandise, and that troops of 
youths and girls were in the habit of wandering from 
the heart of Asia all through the Oxus country for the 
purpose of performing the lascivious Scythian dances 
in the native camps, and of otherwise administering to 
the shameless sensuality of their Tartar hirers.* 

That the ultimate aim of Russia was the conquest of 
India, he was in the habit of insisting upon both in season 
and out of season. Burnaby has been called an extreme 
Russophobe, and if by that is meant a hater of the des- 
potism and chicanery of the Czar's government, and an 
opponent of its ambitious schemes, he deserves the name. 
Indeed, he gloried in it. He admired the sterling 
virtues of the Russian people, however, and was ever 
ready to admit the wonderful possibilities of the race 
under proper government. 

Having resolved to go to Khiva, the next step was to 
make the necessary preparations. He carefully studied 
the principal books on Central Asia, and the more he 
pondered his proposed undertaking, the more difficult 

* It must be remembered that this occurred over 30 years ago. The con- 
dition of things is now far different. See also the Shores of Lake Aral (by 
Major Wood), a book to which Burnaby was indebted and from which he 


it seemed. Besides the opposition of Russian officialism, 
he had to armour himself against the terrible cold and 
the merciless winds of the Kirghiz Desert. 

On arriving in England he discussed the matter with 
some Russian acquaintances, who expressed their belief 
that the St. Petersburg authorities would not hinder him ; 
and then he approached the Russian ambassador in 
London, who showed himself friendly, but declined to 
give his opinion as to whether an Englishman would 
be allowed to travel in Tartary. Having provided him- 
self with letters to General Milutin, the Russian Minister 
of War, and General KaurTmann, the Commander-in- 
Chief of the Forces in the Government of Turkestan, 
Burnaby became hopeful ; but some observations volun- 
teered b}^ the distinguished traveller, Mr. MacGahan, 
whom he met at the house of a common friend, made evi- 
dent the greatness of his difficulties. " You will get on 
very well as far as Kasala," concluded Mr. MacGahan, 
' but then you will have to pull yourself together and 
make your rush." 

His thoughts were so much on his new project that he 
could scarcely be induced to let them approach anything 
else. After much persuasion, however, he consented to 
accompany his brother Evefyn, who had two bench 
tickets, to the Old Bailey, in order to hear the trial of 
Wainwright, the Whitechapel murderer ; and it will be 
remembered that there is a reference to Wainwright's 
execution in A Ride to Khiva. 

Burnaby started from London on 30th November, 
1875, reluctantly leaving behind him his faithful servant, 
Radford, and in due time reached St. Petersburg. Here 
he had an interesting conversation with a Russian officer 
who said, " You English are always thinking that we 
want India ; but you are apt to forget one equally im- 
portant point, which is, that some day the natives of 
that country may wish to govern themselves. You 
are doing everything you possibly can to teach the 
inhabitants their own strength. You establish schools ; 


you educate the people ; they read your newspapers. 
But the day will come when some agitators will set 
these thinking masses in motion ; and then what force 
have you to oppose them ? If ever there was a nation 
determined to commit suicide, it is England. She holds 
India, as she herself allows, by the force of arms, and 
yet she is doing everything in her power to induce the 
conquered country to throw off the yoke." 

Later, Burnaby met some old friends who had settled 
in the city. " Get to Khiva ! " said one. " You might 
as well try to get in the moon. The Russians will not 
openly stop you, but they will put the screw upon the 
English Foreign Office, and force the latter to do so." 
Burnaby next called upon Mr. Schuyler the United 
States Secretary of Legation at St. Petersburg, a gentle- 
man who had visited Kasala and Bokhara — being the 
only diplomatist the Russians had ever permitted to 
travel in their Eastern possessions ;* and then he wrote 
to General Milutin, asking permission to go to India via 
Khiva, Merve and Cabal. The reply came that the 
commandants in Russian Asia had received orders to aid 
him in his journey through the territory under their 
control ; but Burnaby could judge by the tenor of the 
letter, which contained hints of the dangers to be faced, 
that the general little relished giving this permission. 

Having made his final preparations for the journey by 
purchasing extra clothing and providing himself with a 
money-belt, Burnaby took train for Sizeran. At every 
stopping place he and his fellow travellers did their best 
to keep out the cold with glasses of scalding tea drawn 
from huge samovars, or brass urns. Of this welcome 
liquor there was abundance everywhere, and things 
would not have been so very bad had the peasantry 
been more cleanly in their habits, but in Russia, in those 
days at any rate, superstition and dirt were twin bre- 

* See A Ride to Khiva and Schuyler's Turkestan. Burnaby quotes from 


On stepping out of the railway terminus at Sizeran, 
Burnaby and a fellow traveller hired a troika, or three- 
horse sleigh, and as the journey promised to be a bitterly 
cold one, he put on three pairs of the thickest stockings 
and drew over them a pair of fur-lined low shoes inserted 
into leather goloshes, and over them again a pair of 
enormous cloth boots, which reached to the thigh. 
He enveloped his body with flannel, a thick wadded waist- 
coat and a coat, and a huge shuba or fur pelisse reaching 
to the heels, while a fur cap with ends that tied under the 
throat defended his head. Of huge proportions even in 
ordinary dress, Burnaby was now a giant indeed. To 
guard themselves against wolves both he and his com- 
panion carried revolvers ; and then, in a sleigh drawn 
by three horses abreast, the middle one being in a huge 
wooden head collar, bright with various colours, they 
started off at a brisk pace, while the sleigh-bells jingled 

The cold was frightful, and by the time they reached 
one of their stopping-places — a cottage situated in a 
straggling village — their provisions were frozen hard. 
It took ten minutes to thaw the bread, but when Burn- 
aby found himself fingering a large glass of steaming 
amber-coloured tea, with a thin slice of lemon floating on 
the top, he began to understand the advantages of having 
been thoroughlv uncomfortable. "It is onlv after 
having experienced a certain amount of misery," he 
soliloquised, " that you can thoroughly appreciate what 
real enjoyment is." The foulness of the air in the un- 
ventilated room in which he had to pass the night, 
and the uproar caused by pedlars and other folk in the 
adjoining department, were trying enough, but he 
managed to obtain a little sleep. At sunrise next morn- 
ing he started off again, but was from time to time hin- 
dered by snowdrifts, some of which were ten feet in 
height. Arrived at Orenberg, he called on a Tartar 
gentleman, who volunteered information respecting the 
road, but told him that the severity of the winter would 


make success impossible. " The Syr Darya and the 
Amou Darya," he said, " are frozen up, and you will have 
to cover on horseback five hundred versts of snow- 
covered steppes, so I advise you to give up the idea al- 
together. If you are unwilling to do so, you had better 
go home and come back in summer." Nothing, however, 
could turn Burnaby from his plan. 

The next business was to hire a servant, and after 
considerable trouble he secured a Tartar, who required 
twenty-five roubles a month. 

" Perhaps, One of Noble Birth," said the fellow, " you 
would not object to give me two months' wages* on 
account. I have an aged mother, and should like to 
leave a little money to support her during my absence." 

Filial affection being, in Burnaby' s opinion, a com- 
mendable trait, he cheerfully complied with the request. 

Next morning as the man did not put in an appearance, 
Burnaby made enquiries. 

" Perhaps," observed the head waiter, " you gave him 
some money." 

" Yes," said Burnaby, " for his bedridden mother." 

The waiter laughed till the tears came. " His bed- 
ridden mother, indeed ! You will not see him again, 
until he has spent the money. He has gone to kootit 
(to drink and the rest)." 

And so it proved, for late in the day the specious rogue 
was caught in a tavern in the company of two shameless 
women ; but Burnaby recovered half his money, and 
considered himself fortunate to get even that. 

Eventually a valuable, if salacious servant, was secured 
in the person of a Tartar dwarf named Nazar, and Burn- 
aby lost no time in setting off. The sleigh had not pro- 
ceeded many miles, however, before they lost their way, 
and they were obliged to spend a weary and what 
seemed an interminable night in the snow. Next morning, 

* A rouble is equivalent to 3s. 3d., therefore two months' wages would be 
£8 as. 6d. 


however, after being dug out by a jolly farmer and his 
labourers, they were able to enter Ursk. 

Here there was a difficulty in obtaining fresh horses, 
but Nazar took the matter philosophically. "It is 
comfortable and warm," he observed, looking at the 
stove. " We will sleep here, little father ; eat, till we 
fill our clothes, and continue our journey to-morrow." 

It presently transpired, however, that Nazar, in spite 
of his being a married man, had lost his heart "to an 
Ursk siren " with blue eyes. Consequently when Burn- 
aby declared his intention of setting off within an hour, 
Nazar looked sad, forlorn, and injured. 

After leaving Karabootak, Burnaby, instead of putting 
on his thick gloves, took his seat in the sleigh, with each 
hand folded in the sleeve of its fellow. On the way he 
had the misfortune to fall asleep, and his hands slipped 
from their warm covering on to the sides of the sleigh. 
He woke with a feeling of intense pain and found, to his 
consternation, that they were frost-bitten. Nazar's efforts 
to restore the circulation bv rubbing them with snow, 
proved futile. The next station was seven miles off, 
and the devoted little Tartar drove for dear life. The 
perspiration stood on Burnaby's forehead, his body burnt 
like fire. It seemed as though the seven miles would never 
be traversed, but at last they reached the welcome sta- 
tion, and three Cossacks, instantly grasping the situation, 
drew off Burnaby's coat and plunged his arms to the 
shoulder in a tub of ice and water. But he felt no sensa- 

" Brother," said one of the Cossacks, shaking his head, 
" it is a bad job, you will lose your hands." 

" They will certainly drop off," remarked another, 
" unless we can get back the circulation." 

They next procured some naphtha, and having re- 
moved Burnaby's arms from water, they proceeded to 
rub them with the spirit. They rubbed till the skin 
peeled off, and at last Burnaby noticed a faint sensation 
like tickling at the elbow joints. 


" Does it hurt ? " asked one of the Cossacks. 

" A little," replied Burnaby. 

"Capital," said the Cossack. "Rub it hard as you 
can, brothers," and after continuing till the arm was 
almost flayed, they suddenly thrust it again into the ice 
and water. Then the pain was acute. 

"Good," said the Cossacks. "The more it hurts 
the better chance you have of saving your hands." And 
after a short time thev let Burnabv take his hands out 
of the tub. 

" You are fortunate, little father," said the elder of the 
Cossacks. " If it had not been for the spirit your hands 
would have dropped off." 

Rough, kind-hearted fellows were these poor soldiers ; 
and when Burnaby forced on the elder of them a present 
for himself and his comrades, the old soldier simply 
added, " Are we not all brothers when in misfortune ? 
Would you not have helped me if I had been in a like 
predicament ? " 

On arriving at Kasala Burnaby visited a Kirghiz 
settlement on the outskirts of the town, and its inhabit- 
ants were as much interested in him as he was in them. 
Having heard that the Kirghis women were beautiful, 
he took particular notice of them, but he came to the 
conclusion that whatever good looks they had, were 
spoilt by the breadth of face and the size of the mouth. 

The Kirghis, it seems, unlike most other oriental 
races, have the privilege of seeing the girls they wish to 
marry, and there is a good deal of haggling respecting the 

" She has sheep's eyes and is lovely," the match- 
making mother would say, pointing to her daughter. 

" Yes," would perhaps be the reply, " she certainly has 
sheep's eyes, but she is not moon-faced, and as for her 
hips — well she has no hips whatever ! Let us say two 
hundred roubles." 

And so the bidding would go on. 


Bumaby was anxious to leave Kasala as soon as possi- 
ble, for he was in daily dread of being stopped by orders 
from St. Petersburg or London. 

That the journey would be a terribly cold one he was 
well aware, for the thermometer had already sunk to 
forty degrees below zero, thus recording 
seventy-two degrees of frost ; and cases 30— Across the 
of men being frozen to death were fre- Khiva, 

quently reported. He left Kasala with 
his little Tartar servant, a Turkoman camel driver, a 
guide, three camels, and two horses. The guide rode 
one horse, Burnaby the other, while Nazar bestraddled 
a huge corn sack balanced by a bundle of firewood, 
which had been placed on the tallest camel. 

" Please God," observed Nazar, looking down from 
the camel's back, " we shall not be frozen to death." 

To which Burnaby replied devoutly " Inshallah." 

For provisions they carried two large iron buckets 
of frozen stchi or cabbage soup and minced meat, and 
twenty-eight pounds of meat in the joint, not forgetting 
a hatchet for chopping it up. 

The Syr Darya being frozen, they passed it without 
difficulty, and all would have gone smoothly but for the 
camel driver, who was careless and smashed the boxes, 
etc., and who, when remonstrated with, merely ob- 
served " It is the will of God." 

Burnaby soon found out that the best way to stop 
these breakages was to give the fellow a hiding, and 
after doing so he observed, ' ' Brother, it was the will of 
God. You must not complain ; it was your destiny to 
break my property and mine to beat you. We neither 
of us could help it, praise be to Allah." 

Most of the travelling was done during the night, as 
camels feed only in the daytime, and the little caravan 
covered about thirty-seven miles every twenty-four 
hours. The travellers usually halted at sunset, when 
they would put up a kibitha or circular tent, made of 



rods and cloth, raised as a protection against the pitilessly 
bleak east winds ; and they generally started again at 
midnight. The cold made them ravenous ; indeed 
it was no uncommon event for the camel-driver to eat 
a four-pound loaf at a sitting. Occasionally he would 
bury his head in the stchi pot, and suck up the half tepid 
liquor, much to the indignation of Nazar, who would re- 
mark angrily that this method of eating was not fair ; 
at the same time offering a spoon. But the Turkoman 
used gratefully to decline it, with the observation that 
the soup tasted better with one's head in the pot. Some- 
times he relieved the tedium of the way by singing a song 
descriptive of his love for mutton, but he had his virtues 
too, for he was ever ready to give information concern- 
ing Turkoman manners and customs. He told Burnaby 
that Turkoman marriages are not always arranged by 
purchase. If the girl is pretty, a more original method 
is popular. All the eligible young men of the tribe 
assemble on horseback, and the girl being allowed her 
choice of mounts, gallops away from the suitors, who 
follow her. She avoids those whom she dislikes, and 
seeks to throw herself in the way of the one in favour. 
The moment she is caught she becomes the wife of the 
captor. Further ceremonies are dispensed with, and 
the happy husband leads her to his tent. 

" What do you pay in your country for a wife ? " 
enquired the guide. 

" We pay nothing," replied Burnaby; " we ask the 
girl, and if she says ' yes,' and her parents do not refuse, 
we marry her." 

" But if the girl does not like you, if she hits 3011 on 
the head with her whip, or gallops away when you ride 
up to her side, what do you do in that case ? ' 

" Why, we do not marry her." 

This puzzled the guide very much, and he became 
lost in meditation. 

As they proceeded the cold became more frightful 


fiBUft G 


November, 1875. 


than ever ; the icy winds cut like razors, and it was peri- 
lous to remove their gloves, even for a moment. 

At a place called Karakol Burnaby's guide was in- 
sulted by a Khivan traveller, and a light ensued in which 
each seriously damaged the other's clothes. Up to this 
point Burnaby did not interfere, but on noticing that 
the Khivans were beginning nervously to finger their 
knives, he promptly drew a pistol, causing them to fall 
back, with the result that the two opponents were left to 
settle their difference by themselves. When they were 
tired of fighting, each sat on his haunches and aspersed 
the reputations of his enemy's female relations ; but 
presently Burnaby walked up to them, and after saying 
A man (peace), he took hold of their wrists and forcibly 
made them shake hands. Salam aaleikom (peace be 
with you) at last, said the guide. 

Aaleikom salam (with you be peace), was the answer, 
and, their quarrel composed, the combatants separated. 

On arriving at Kalenderhana, Burnaby learnt that he 
could not enter the town of Khiva without first having 
obtained the Khan's permission ; and that a letter should 
be written to that sovereign and sent on in advance. 
As Burnaby did not know the Tartar language, and as he 
was uncertain whether it would be wise to employ Arabic, 
he availed himself of the services of a moullah, 
who enjoyed the reputation of being able to " write 
things so soft and sweet that they were like sounds of 
sheep bleating in the distance." The country from 
Kalenderhana onwards, proved to be excellently cultiv- 
ated, and after a short march Burnaby reached the world- 
renowned Amou Darya, the mighty Oxus of Tamerlane 
and Alexander, which, even from his youthful days at 
Bedford, when he had pored over Gibbon and Plutarch, 
it had been his ambition to visit. As they crossed the 
river, for it was frozen, they met numbers of arbas or two- 
wheeled carts and Khivans in long red robes and black 
lambskin hats, who bestrode sleek and handsome horses, 
ambling under housings studded with jewels. Every man 


as he passed gave the salutation Salam aaleikon ; and 
every member of Burnaby's train replied politely 
Aaleikon salam. After passing through a country of gar- 
dens and orchards, they reached the town of Oogentch, 
where they found the bazaar stalls loaded with grapes, 
dried fruits and melons. When Burnaby entered a 
barber's shop to be shaved, the street fronting it suddenly 
became completely blocked up by a curious crowd. 
The people behind, who were not able to see as well as 
they wished, called out to those who hid the performance 
from view and made them sit down, so that everyone 
might be able to enjoy the spectacle — for they had never 
before seen an Englishman in the hands of a barber. 
The razor being blunt, it tore out the hairs it was unable 
to cut, and this made Burnaby wince. The people were 
delighted. They were not prepared for this feature in the 
entertainment, and they roared with laughter. 

As Burnaby neared Khiva he passed through a ceme- 
tery full of fantastic tombs made of dried clay, orna- 
mented with flags ; and next morning he encountered 
on the road the messenger whom he had despatched 
with his letter to the Khan. The man was accompanied 
by two Khivan nobles, one of whom made a courteous 
salute, and declared that his Majesty the Khan had sent 
him forward to bid Burnaby welcome, and to conduct 
him into the city. Thus he had accomplished his end. 
The impossible had happened, as it generally does with 
the resolute. 

Although Khiva was so near, it was almost entirelv 

hidden by foliage, but presently some richly painted 

minarets and high domes could be seen 

31— Khiva and above the tree tops. On each side of the 

its Khan. wa y Burnaby noticed walled orchards 

and avenues of mulberry trees, the 

beauty of which put him into ecstasies. Nor was he 

singular in his praise of this neighbourhood. To Vam- 

bery, who visited the city in 1863, the environs of Khiva 

seemed a poet's dream. A more lovely spot, even after 


he had visited the most seductive pleasure resorts of 
Europe, he had never seen, and he thought that if the 
Persian poets had tuned their lyres there, they would 
have found a more worthy theme than in the " horrid 
wastes " of their native land. Burnaby describes the 
city as oblong in form and surrounded by two walls, 
protected by sixteen useless guns. The outer wall, 
which was of brick and clay, might have been fifty feet 
high, but it was sadly out of repair ; and four wooden 
gates barred approach from the principal points of the 
compass. The space between the walls, which had been 
transformed into a cattle market, displayed the usual 
accompaniment of such places in oriental cities — namely, 
a gallows. He judged the population of the town to be 
35,000, and he tells us that the streets were broad and 
clean, the better houses being of polished bricks and 
coloured tiles ; and that the schools, nine in number, 
were constructed with huge coloured domes, and orna- 
mented with arabesques. As at Oogentch, the people 
gathered inquisitively round him, but they were beaten 
off by the whips of his escort. When he arrived at his 
conductor's house he was regaled with grapes, melons, 
and other fruit. His manner of eating with a knife and 
fork, however, astonished the Khivans, and one of them 
tried to imitate the proceeding, with the result that he 
ran the fork into his cheek, amid the loud laughter of the 

On the following afternoon he went to pay his respects 
to the Khan, whose palace was a large building covered 
with bright coloured tiles. The Khan, whose guard 
consisted of forty men armed with scimiters, was reclin- 
ing against some cushions and seated on a Persian rug, 
while a circular hearth filled with burning charcoal 
glowed at his feet. He was five feet ten in height, and 
strongly built, with a broad massive face, coal black 
beard and moustache, and an enormous mouth with white 
teeth. A jewelled sword lay by his side. He looked 
twenty-eight, and he had a genial smile. 


Over a cup of tea, and by aid of various interpreters, 
a curious conversation then ensued. The Khan wanted 
to know whether Englishmen and Germans were of the 
same nation ; and in order to explain, Burnaby unfolded 
a map of the countries between England and India. 
The Khan, putting his hand on India, observed that 
India was large, but not so large as Russia, which re- 
quired nearly two hands to cover it ; but Burnaby ex- 
plained that extent of territory does not make up the 
strength of a nation, and that India contained three times 
as many inhabitants as the whole Russian Empire. 
The Crimean war was discussed, and the Khan said he 
had been told that England feared Russia ; but Burnaby 
declared the statement to be false, that the English 
had beaten the Russians, and could do so again — 
pointing out, however, at the same time, that the Eng- 
lish, being a peaceful nation, never wished to interfere 
with a neighbour, so long as that neighbour did not inter- 
fere with them. 

"The Russians will advance," said the Khan, 'to 
Bokhara, and so on to Merve and Herat. You will have 
to fight some dav whether vour Government likes it or 
not " — and then he aired his salient grievance, that of 
being obliged to pay tribute to Russia. 

Burnaby could not sufficiently admire the Khan's 
gardens with their vines, apple, pear and cherry trees, 
and cool walks to protect the ladies of the harem from 
the burning sun. He visited the town jail, where he 
found only two prisoners, who, for having assaulted a 
woman, were condemned to sit with their necks in chains, 
and their feet in stocks ; and also the principal school, 
where a number of little folk were squalling round a 
moullah and learning the Koran. In short Burnaby 
gives a very attractive picture of Khiva and its mild 
ruler, who was a remarkable contrast to the callous and 
truculent Khan, his immediate predecessor, from whose 
lips, according to Vambery,* fell almost daily on the ears 

* Vambery visited Khiva in 1863. See his Travels in Central Asia. 

" FRED." 

By special permission or the Editor of Vanity Fail 


of some poor trembling wretch or other, the fatal words 
Alib barin [away with him (to torture and death) ] ; and 
it is only fair to assume that the Russian advance — 
though Burnaby would never say a good word for the 
Russians — had something to do with the improved condi- 
tion of things. 

Burnaby then arranged to proceed to Bokhara, whence 
he hoped to reach Persia, but in the midst of his prepara- 
tions two strangers arrived from the Russian Com- 
mandant at Petro-Alexandrovsk bearing a message for 
him. Its contents were to the effect that a telegram 
awaited him at the fort, and that he was required to go 
there to receive it. Little as he relished the order — for order 
it virtuallv was — nothing remained but to obev : so hav- 
ing made some purchases at the bazaar, and said farewell 
to the amiable Khan, who presented him with a handsome 
robe, Burnaby turned his face to Petro-Alexandrovsk. 
There he discovered that the telegram had come from 
H.R.H. the Duke of Cambridge, the Field Marshal 
Commander-in-Chief, who required his immediate re- 
turn to European Russia. The document had been await- 
ing him several days, so had he gone first to Petro- 
Alexandrovsk, he would never have seen Khiva. As 
there was no help for it, Burnaby at once began prepara- 
tions for returning home the way he had come, namely, 
by the terrible Khivan desert, with the cold at from 
30° to 40° below zero. When, however, the Russian 
commandant joked him on his being prevented from 
carrying out his plan in its entirety, he replied " Any- 
how I have seen Khiva " — and so he had — having per- 
formed one of the most remarkable journeys ever made 
by an Englishman. 

A day or two later Burnaby and his little caravan 
commenced their journey back over the frightful, icy 
desert. On the hardships of that journey, as they re- 
sembled what he had already endured, we shall not dwell. 
After passing Kasala, he was the means of doing a small 
service to a pretty Kirghiz widow ; and through the 


medium of Nazar, he entered into conversation with her 
and tried to pay her some compliments. Nazar' s ideas 
of poetry, however, were limited to songs about the 
beauty of a sheep and the delights of roast mutton, 
so Burnaby doubted not that when he observed with 
emotion that she was the most beautiful of her sex, 
Nazar translated it, " Thou art lovelier than a sheep with 
a fat tail." 

At Sizeran Burnaby parted from his little Tartar, 
and after an uneventful journey across Europe, he event- 
ually reached London, where, as his fame had preceded 
him, he found himself the hero of the hour. 

He at once set to work on the story of his travels, 
which was sent to the Press with the title of A Ride to 
Khiva* and issued by the publishing house of Cassell 
in the autumn of 1876. It was received with a chorus of 
approval. He had performed a daring adventure ; 
he had written a book that met with acceptance ; he 
was intoxicated with happiness. 

Within a few months it was in its eleventh edition ; 
and certainly it deserved all its success ; for a more 
concise, cheery and brightly written book of travel, 
has rarely left the Press. 

Naturally Burnaby's portrait appeared everywhere, 
and he became the subject of a capital cartoonf in Vanity 
Fair, which we are permitted to reproduce. Of this pic- 
ture he said facetiously in a letter, " I don't like it. It 
makes me as ugly as I really am. The artist reminds me of 
a Chinaman who sketched old K. The admiral complained 
that the likeness was not flattering. The Chinaman 
replied, ' How can handsome face make when handsome 
face no have got ! ' I am like K ; I wish for a little 
more flattery." 

* From which we have quoted. 

f The whitened chin in it was characteristic of him. He always powder- 
ed his chin after shaving, in order to make it comport with his pallid face. 

25th August, 1876. 

The figures are Mr. Wright (extreme left), Burnaby seated on car, 
Mr. Lucy in the car, Captain Colvile standing on car. 

From the Strand Magazine. 


february 1876 november 1876. 

Balloon Ascents from the Crystal Palace. 

Burnaby had not been home many weeks before the 
insipid delights of English Society began to pall upon 
32— Ascent with him. He found life scarcely worth living 

Capt. Colvile m a countrv where a man goes to bed 
Mr. H.W.Lucy regularly under cover, dines at stated 

25th Aug., 1867. nour s, and has his morning and evening- 
newspapers ; so he looked round to see how he could add 
a zest to it, and then having turned to his old delight, 
aeronautics, he arranged to make an ascent from the 
Crystal Palace with two friends — Mr. H. W. Lucy* and 
Captain (afterwards Sir) Henry Colvile, t in a balloon 
belonging to Mr. Wright. On the appointed day Mr. 
Wright having made all necessary preparations, Mr. Lucy 
slipped into the car and sat down at the bottom " with 
his head thrust through the cording like a chicken in a 
wicker basket," and the others followed him. " Burn- 
aby," observes Mr. Lucy, " had every qualification for an 
aeronaut except moderate size. No one except those 
who have made an aerial journey with him, can imagine 
the curiously complete way in which his legs pervaded 
the car." As, however, Burnaby thought well to increase 
the danger of this voyage by sitting, not in the car, 
as it careered through space, but on the edge, his long 
legs were less troublesome to his friends than they would 
otherwise have been. A south west wind carried the 
balloon at a rate of forty miles an hour, and when the 

*Toby M.P. of Punch. 

f Killed in a motor accident 1907. 

(l°9) W 


voyagers were well on their journey, Burnaby revealed 
the secret wish of his heart, namely, that they could get 
a good north breeze which would whisk them to France. 

" This westerly wind," he said, " will take us into the 
German Ocean. But it will change again, and we shall 
have the usual journey across Essex." 

By and by they saw something shining below like 
molten silver. 

" The sea ! " cried Burnaby. 

But it was only the mouth of the Thames, and, as he 
had prophesied, the balloon presently took its course 
over Essex. 

Then casting down their gaze, a curious sight presented 
itself. They were travelling in bright sunshine, and 
below them extended a broad sea of fleecy cloud, on 
which was pictured the shadow of the balloon, with the 
heads of the occupants as clearly traced as if it had 
been a colossal photograph. 

" It would be worth a much more perilous journey," 
said Mr. Lucy, " to see this curious picture." 

" But it's confoundedly hot," observed Captain Col- 

" Yes," said Burnaby, taking off his gigantic coat, 
and hanging it on the anchor as if he had been in a 
mess-room, ' ' still there is one comfort in being above the 
clouds, namely, that a man can sit in public in his shirt 

The north wind that Burnaby had so earnestly desired 
did not choose to oblige him, consequently when the 
cloud had been cleared and fields and villages came in 
view, he gave the gas pipe a turn in order to descend. 
Suddenly the earth began to rise, the fields assumed 
larger dimensions, and animals, which looked like mice, 
proved to be cattle. He then threw out the anchor, and 
the balloon rose about a hundred feet. But it is one 
thing to throw out an anchor and another to make it 
bite. This particular anchor amused itself by dancing 
about on the hard earth, grubbing up grass, passing 


through hedges, and skilfully avoiding anything that 
offered a firm clutch. There was now an element of 
danger, and in consequence Burnaby's spirits straightway 
mounted high. Presently they neared a wood, and into 
it went the balloon, crashing against a tree, tearing a 
large strip out of the silk, and impregnating the air 
with the smell of the escaping gas. But the anchor, 
though it had a thousand opportunities, still refused to 
grip. It carefully avoided every eligible tree, while it 
grubbed fiercely at every weed and feeble flower stalk. 
The wind hurried the balloon from tree to tree, making- 
fresh gashes in the canvas, and threatening to leave not 
a ras' behind. Finallv it descended into an elm ; and 
Burnaby and Mr. Lucy, having dropped to the ground, 
Captain Colvile loosened the folds of the balloon, and 
lowered both envelope and car into their arms. 

At midnight Captain Colvile met Burnaby again 
at the Queen's Ball at Buckingham Palace. 

" That was a capital anchor," observed Burnaby, 
" I am going to buy it from Wright and keep it for future 
balloon journeys." 

A little later Burnaby, with a view to various scientific 

experiments, decided to make another aerial voyage, 

and in the middle of September he wrote 

.. „. . , , „ „ r 33— Ascents 

to Mr. Wright as follows : with Mr. 

Regents Park Barracks, N.W., Wri « ht and 


Saturday, September 16th (1876). 
In the event of your having a balloon ascent from the 
Crystal Palace on Tuesday next, I should like to take your 
place in the balloon and go alone with my friend. Of 
course no one would be told of this, and it would have 
to be a private matter between you and myself. I sup- 
pose that in the event of our making some sort of an 
arrangement like this, I should not have to pay for the 
gas, as this would be found by the company for your 
ascent. I should like your largest balloon, so as to make 
a long ascent, and would pay for any damage done it, as 
well as a certain sum to you for the hire. WTiat time 


would the balloon be likely to go up, as the earlier 
the better, and what would be your terms for the hire ? 
Send me an answer by telegraph, as to-morrow is Sunday 
and there is no post. 

Yours truly, 

Fred Burnaby. 

As the agreement with Mr. Wright indicates, the 
voyage was made on September 19th (1876). It was a 
thoroughly successful one, and on arriving home Burnaby 
ordered another balloon — holding 50,000 feet of gas — 
in order to carry out additional scientific experiments. 
Subsequently he and Mr. Wright made several ascents 
together, and after one of them Burnaby gave his com- 
panion an aneroid* and a copy of A Ride to Khiva, with 
the following words in autograph : " Mr. Wright, from 
the author, in remembrance of some pleasant journeys 
in the air, July 11th, 1877, St. John's Wood Barracks, 

Burnaby's enthusiasm for aeronautics was shared by 
several of his more intimate friends ; and one of them, 
Captain Colvile, even went so far — a few years later — 
as to spend his honeymoon in one of Mr. Wright's 

*Now in the possession of Miss Wright. 

•"-This was on 25th April, 1879. Captain Colvile and his wife drove 
from the church to the Crystal Palace where the balloon was waiting for 
them. The trip, according to Captain Colvile, was a delightful one and 
they descended at Waterbeach, in Cambridgeshire. 

From the Strand Magazine. 


november 1876 spring 1877. 

Travels in Asia Minor.* 
bibliography : 

5. The Practical Instruction of Staff Officers, 1876. 

6. A Ride to Khiva 1876 (Reviewed in Saturday Review 

25th November 1876). Eleventh edition 1877. 

7. On Horseback through Asia Minor 1877. Seventh 

edition with Memoir of Radford and a new preface 
dealing with the Eastern question 1878. (Sampson 

While Burnaby and Mr. Wright were thus busying 
themselves, all England was roused owing to the Bul- 
34— Burnaby and garian massacres, and in newspaper and on 
Radford set platform the Turks were held up to execra- 
Travels, tion. Burnaby insisted, however, that the 
Nov. 1876. cr y a g a i ns t them was something of an elec- 
tion dodge. He deplored, as did every other feeling man, 
the shocking butchery in Bulgaria ; but he pointed out 
that the trouble was owing in part to reprisals made by 
the Turks on account of cruelty inflicted on their people 
by the Russians and other Christians, and in part to the 
barbarity of the Turkish mercenaries. He considered 
the genuine Turk one of the finest fellows in the world, 
and he denied that the Anatolian Christians were op- 
pressed. He determined, however, to go to Asia Minor 
and examine the condition of affairs with his own eyes. 

* This chapter is founded on Burnaby 's On Horseback through Asia Minor 
and Burnaby 's letters (lent to the Author by Mrs. Baillie). 



Burnaby, having first applied to the Turkish Ambassa- 
dor, asking whether any special permission was required, 
received reply that an Englishman could travel where 
he liked in the Turkish Dominions ; and he contrasted 
these words with the grudging acquiescence of the St. 
Petersburg authorities when he was about to visit Tar- 

Having crossed to Calais, Burnaby, accompanied by 
Radford, made for Marseilles, whence he took steamer 
for Constantinople. Here, after hiring a servant named 
Osman, a fine-looking fellow in a fez and light blue 
trousers fastened at the waist with a crimson sash, he 
questioned both Turk and Christian concerning the condi- 
tion of the country in which he was about to travel. 
An Armenian assured him that if he tried to get as far as 
Van, he would in all probability be robbed or murdered 
by the Kurds — a statement that made Van peculiarly 
attractive to him, and he straightway resolved that 
whatever other place he might avoid, Van should cer- 
tainly see his face. 

Having cheapened some horses he gave them, consonant 
with his custom, scriptural names, — calling one a vicious 
black brute Obadiah ; and after making other preparations, 
he turned his face towards the Bosphorus. A crowd 
collected to see him start — the Giaour, who madly pro- 
posed making his way from Scutari to Batoum by land 
instead of by water. When all was ready he gave 
Osman a travelling sword, an action that had the result 
of intensifving the excitement. 

" Osman has got a sword," said one. 

" He is buckling it on," said another. 

But Osman's air of importance increased ten-fold 
when Burnaby desired him to sling a sporting rifle on 
his shoulder. There was a faint approach to a cheer 
from a little boy in the crowd ; but this was instantly 
suppressed, and in the midst of all the excitement Burn- 
aby, Radford and the horses proceeded, not without dig- 
nity, down the street of Para. 


Among the passengers on board the steamer which 
carried them over the Bosphorus were some Turkish 
ladies, whose faces could be clearly seen through the 
diaphanous texture which served them as veils. They 
were not prepossessing, and they sadly wanted expression 
— a defect which Burnaby observed in almost every 
Turkish woman whose countenance he scrutinized ; 
but, as he observes, considering that only one woman 
out of every thousand can read or write, this is not sur- 

He was roused from his reverie by a violent explosion, 
caused as it was afterwards discovered, by Obadiah, 
who had kicked over a box of cartridges. 

Radford explained just how it happened. " Lor sir," 
he said, " it was that black 'orse Obadiah, as was the 
bottom of all the mischief. He is that artful. He stood 
quiet enough till we started, and the paddles began to 
turn ; he then started kicking, and frightened the grey. 
That 'ere Turk," pointing to Osman, " was a praying by 
the side of the paddle-boxes, and not taking any account 
of the hanimals, drat him ! Obadiah upset his packsaddle 
and stamped on the cartridge-box ; and when some of 
them went off, Hosman left off praying and began to 

As Radford said, whenever there was any work to be 
done, the artful Osman fell to prayer — and to aggravate 
the offence he, as often as not, would take Radford's 
coat to kneel on. 

The Pasha of Ismid enquired of Burnaby why England 
hated the Turks. 

" Partly," replied Burnaby, " on account of the 
tigerish excesses of your Bashi-Bazooks ; but mainly 
because you repudiated your debt." 

The Pasha attributed all the trouble to the machina- 
tions of Russia. " Russia," he said, " will not let us be 
quiet. She compels us to keep up a large army. Her 
agents bring about massacres of the Christians, and set 
the world against us " — and Burnaby, who at almost 


every step on his journey heard the same tale, became 
every day more and more convinced of its truth. 

The one topic at every halting place was the anticipated 
war. On the road Osman gave some account of his 
family life. He had a good wife. He admitted that her 
eyes were not quite straight, but he hastened to add that 
this little imperfection was more than balanced by her 
skill as a cook. 

" She makes soup," he observed, " which is even more 
filling than my brother's " — pointing to Radford. 

At one village a Turkish farmer honoured Burnaby 
by the loan of the family yorgan or quilt — which, though 
ancient and beautiful, turned out to be a paradise for 
fleas ; but Burnaby, who slept not a wink all night, 
subsequently discovered that Armenian yorgans contain 
about twice as many fleas as the Turkish. Having 
passed Istanos, the place where Alexander the Great 
cut the Gordian knot, the travellers came to Angora, 
where they learnt that there was a deal of immorality 
among the fair sex, though nothing to what existed in 
Yusgat, a town little further on, where could be seen 
the lascivious dance of the Turkish gipsy woman, which 
was strictly prohibited in other places. If the women 
were immoral, however, the men were hospitable, and 
Burnaby was glad to give the Turk his due wherever 
found. Moreover at Angora, exceptional harmony ex- 
isted between Turk and Christian. " Englishmen who 
abuse the Turkish nation," observed Burnaby, " should 
travel a little in Anatolia." 

Having crossed the Kizil Irmak river in a barge, for 
there was no bridge, the travellers came to an encamp- 
ment of Kurds, a people who have a simple and original 
way of avoiding the payment of taxes. When they ex- 
pect a visit from the collector, they pack up their chattels 
and migrate to the mountains, where they bid him de- 
fiance, and where they remain until their spies have 
announced the enemy's departure. 

Burnaby next came to a Turkoman village, that is to 


say, to a few holes in the side of a hill. He entered one 
of these queer dwellings with the intention of dining 
with the family, but the fleas having put him to flight, 
he finished his meal in the open. At every turning he 
heard tales of Russian atrocities on the borderland. 
Burnaby next entered the disreputable town of Yusgat — 
the Lampsacus of Anatolia. No Englishman had visited 
it for twenty years, and the Turkish population, who 
were friendly to England on account of the Crimean war, 
turned out in mass to welcome the stranger. Even 
Osman had some of the glory reflected upon him, for he 
was kissed effusively by a number of dirty Turks. 

" How do you like the Turks ? " enquired Burnaby 
of the chief engineer of the district- — a Pole. 

" The Turks and the Armenians get on very well 
together," was the reply, " and the law is carried out 
fairly for all classes." 

On the outskirts of the town Burnaby and the Pole 
passed some good looking gipsy women with brown com- 
plexions, dark eyes, and long black hair. 

" These are the dancers," said the Pole. ' Let us go 
and talk to one of the old women, and choose the girls 
who are to perform." 

" How many do you require ? " asked the old woman. 

" Three," replied the Pole. 

" Well," said she, " three you shall have. The most 
beautiful and gazelle-like of our tribe. I will come my- 
self, and I too will dance, if only to show the Frank 
Effendi what our dance is like." 

It was as much as Burnaby could do to keep his coun- 
tenance, for the old woman was very fat ; and some of the 
girls, catching his eye, went off into fits of laughter. 

" Ah ! you may laugh, children," she said, indignantly, 
" but none of you can dance so well as I can " ; and 
straightening her aged limbs, she showed what she could 
do, while the girls applauded her, and beat time with their 

" Very good," said the Pole, as she sank down on a 

H 2 


divan, " Very good. You dance like a stag. You shall 
come too." 

" Thank heavens," he remarked in French, " she did 
not throw herself on to my lap, for this is the custom 
of these wild dancers ; if she had done so, there would not 
have been much left of me." 

On the following evening, according to appointment, 
the dancers arrived at the Pole's house. 

First entered some male gipsies carrying lutes and an 
instrument like a bagpipe, which emitted a wild and dis- 
cordant blast ; and then came the dancers accompanied 
by the fat woman. The girls were in blue jackets, 
purple waistcoats lashed with gold embroidery, and very 
loose yellow trousers. Their eyebrows were made to 
meet by charcoal lines, their teeth and finger nails were 
dyed red, and their hair hung in long tresses below their 
waists. The principal dancer's hair was decorated 
with gold spangles, and all carried castanets. The lutes 
having struck up, and the bagpipes having resumed 
screaming, the dance began. 

The girls whirled round each other till their long black 
tresses stood out at right angles from their bodies. The 
perspiration poured down their cheeks. The old lady, who 
was seated on a divan, then uncrossed her legs, beating 
her brass ankle-rings the one against the other, thus 
adding yet another noise to the din. The girls snapped 
their castanets, and then whirled their bodies round each 
other with such velocity that it was impossible to dis- 
tinguish the one from the other. All of a sudden, the 
music stopped, and the panting dancers threw them- 
selves down on the laps of the musicians. 

When asked by the Pole what he thought of it, Burn- 
aby, among other criticisms, observed that the Lord 
Chamberlain would not allow such performances in 

" The Lord Chamberlain, who is he ? " inquired an 
Armenian present. 

" He is an official who looks after public morals." 


" And do you mean to say that he would object to this 
sort of dance ? " 

" Yes." 

" But this is nothing," said the Pole. " When there 
is a marriage festival in a harem, the women arrange their 
costumes so that one article of attire falls off after 
another during the dance. The performers are finally 
left in very much the same garb as our first parents after 
the fall. We shall be spared that spectacle, for my wife 
is here." Finally the old woman, who had been given a 
glass of raki, delivered herself of a pas seul ; and then 
the troope made their departure. 

Burnaby also witnessed the national game of djerrid, 
and took part in a hunt. At Tokat he met some Cir- 
cassians, who corroborated the various accusations 
made against the Russians, and declared that they had 
transformed Circassia into a hell. 

For some time Burnaby had received hints that 

Osman, when not engaged in prayer, was either robbing 

him or planning a theft ; and at last, after 

catching the rascal red-handed, he dis- „ , 

, °, . i , • ! . , 35— Mohammed, 

missed him, and hired another servant, 

a nimble redif-soldier named Mohammed. 

At Sivas Burnaby enquired of an Armenian whether the 

Turks ever tortured the Christians there. 

" No," was the reply, " the law is, or rather the judges 
are, much too merciful " ; and once more he was told that 
whatever trouble arose was caused by the Russian agents, 
who were perpetually fomenting quarrels between Turk 
and Christian, and sowing fresh seeds of disaffection 
among the Armenian subjects of the Porte. ' But for 
Russian intrigues," said the Pasha of Sivas to Burnaby, 
" we Turks should be very good friends with the Chris- 
tians." " The Turks are not cruel," observed an 
American gentleman to Burnaby, " but they are pig- 
headed. They will not advance with the times." 

Soon after passing Sivas Burnaby 's party, which 
included some Zaptiehs, who had been sent to act as 


guides for him, were nearly buried in a snow drift, 
and a rebellion broke out among them. By drawing his 
revolver, however, Burnaby brought his factious com- 
panions to their senses, and in due time the whole party 
struggled through the snow and reached the next village 
— on the whole, the filthiest within their experience. 
When under shelter Burnaby, who had supped and was 
beginning to doze, overheard a conversation between the 
Zaptiehs and Mohammed. 

" Only think," said a Zaptieh, " of our being threat- 
ened by the infidel." 

" He would have carried out his threat," said Moham- 
med. " My Effendi is not like the Christians about here. 
He is an Inglis ! " 

" So the Inglis giaours are different from the Armenian 
giaours ? " observed the Zaptieh. 

" Very different," replied Mohammed, " the Armen- 
ians talk, but the Inglis strike." 

Burnaby's curiosity was unbounded, and everywhere 
he enquired into the manners and customs of the people. 
He found that most of the Christians were usurers, 
that they lent to the Turks at an exorbitant rate of 
interest, and that in some instances old Turkish families 
had been entirely ruined by Armenian money-lenders. 
At Erzingan Burnaby called on a rich and lecherous 
Turk, who was in the hands of an Italian physician. 

" What is the matter with him ? " enquired Burnaby. 

" Drink, my good sir," replied the doctor. "He is 
forty, I am over ninety, but please God, as the Turks say, 
I shall outlive him. If the upper classes of Moham- 
medans were sober, they would live for ever in this 
delightful climate. But what with their women, and 
what with their wine, they shorten their existence by at 
least thirty years." 

" What are you talking about ? " enquired the sick 

"I was saying, Bey Effendi ! " replied the doctor, 


" how very popular you are in the neighbourhood, and 
how much everyone loves you." 

Arrived at Erzeroum — supposed to have been the 
home of our first parents — Burnaby was informed by 
an Armenian, the Pasha's interpreter, that the Russian 
consul at Erzeroum had just received a telegram, which 
ran as follows : 

" Two months ago an Englishman, a certain Captain 
Burnaby, left Constantinople with the object of travel- 
ling in Asia Minor. He is a desperate enemy (mm ennemi 
acharne) of Russia. We have lost all traces of him since 
his departure from Stamboul. We believe that,the real 
object of his journey is to pass the frontier, and enter 
Russia. Do your best, sir, to discover the whereabouts 
of this aforesaid Captain. Find means to inform him 
that in the event of his entering our territory, he will be 
immediately expelled." 

Burnaby also heard that the Russians had hung up his 
photograph at all the frontier stations, so as to enable 
their officers to recoonise him should he attempt to enter 
Russian territory. 

As he had no desire to cross the frontier, this informa- 
tion did not disturb him ; but he was of opinion that the 
real reason of the Russians for not wishing him to travel 
through the Caucasus was lest he should obtain fresh 
proofs of their enormities. 

From Erzeroum he wrote to his mother a long letter, 
from which we may quote a few paragraphs : 

" Erzeroum. The Garden of Eden, 

11th Februarv, 1877. 

" It has been a hard journey. Over 13,000 miles, and 
all on horseback, through deep mud at first, and in some 
places up to the horses' girths. I stayed at Angora three 
days. Then on the track again ; over mountains and 
crags, passing over ground that abounds with mineral 
wealth, and, alas ! left idly in the earth, till I reached 

" ' Why do you not introduce your family to me ? ' 


I enquired one day of my host (an Armenian gentle- 

*' ' I keep my wife and daughter for myself, and not for 
my guests,' " was the reply. 

" All through this part of the world the same custom 
exists. Poor Armenian women ! They are indeed to be 
pitied. They receive no education whatever. What 
they do not know themselves, it is impossible to teach 
their children ; the result is that the whole population, 
Christian as well as Mussulman, is steeped in the deepest 
slough of ignorance." 

As the travellers proceeded on their journey Burnaby 
fell ill, and the necessity of walking through great tracts 
of snow aggravated his complaint. He had no sooner 
begun to recover than Mohammed was taken with severe 
rheumatism, which was relieved by a mustard plaster. 

A Kurd who watched the operation observed, " It is a 
wonder. The plaster is cold, but Mohammed says he is 
on fire. I should like a plaster too," and turning to Rad- 
ford he held out his hand for one. 

" Plasters are for sick people, not for men in a good 
state of health," observed Burnaby. 

" But I am not well," said the Kurd. 

As however the man had nothing to show beyond an 
old frostbite, the request was ignored. 

The news of Burnaby's skill as a medicine man spread 

far and wide, and people came wheedling to him for 

mustard plasters to cure every imaginable 

36— Among the complaint — not excluding the toothache. 

Worshippers. After passing the mighty Mount Ararat, 
the travellers arrived at a village of 
Yezeeds or Devil- Worshippers — a people whose principal 
temple is adorned with a figure of a serpent kept black 
with charcoal. The idea of the sect who, by the by, do 
not admit devil-worship, though there is incontrovertible 
evidence that they practise it, is that there are two 
spirits — one of good, the other of evil — that it is a waste 


of time to worship the spirit of good, who will not hurt 
them ; the correct course to pursue being to try to 
propitiate the spirit of evil. They are visited periodically 
by priests who, clad in white and swaying a wand sur- 
mounted by a sacred brass peacock, perform certain rites 
which they keep rigorously secret. Should a priest arrive 
in the village, the first act of the inhabitants is to offer 
their wives and daughters for his inspection. The family 
of the woman or girl selected considers that a very high 
honour has been conferred upon it. Burnaby learnt 
that there are different laws as to the subsequent treat- 
ment of these privileged women. In one of the sects 
(and there are two) they are forbidden afterwards to ap- 
proach a man ; but in the other an unmarried woman 
thus honoured is permitted to marry, while a married 
woman is allowed to return to her husband ; and it is the 
duty of the village to make her rich presents, and to 
maintain her and her husband during the rest of their 
lives. In short they secure an " old age pension," and 
are envied accordingly. 

As this account differed in detail from what is related 
by Mr. Layard, the Assyriologist, Burnaby resolved to 
question some of the Yezeeds, but an unfortunate occur- 
rence prevented him from obtaining the desired informa- 
tion. By chance in conversation he mentioned the 
word Shaitan (devil). " If," says he, " a bombshell had 
exploded in the room where I was sitting, there could 
not have been greater consternation than that which 
was evinced by the members of my host's family. 
Springing to their feet, they fled from the building — an 
old woman nearly upsetting Radford's cooking pot 
in her haste to escape into the open air." 

Burnaby was very sorry, and at first thought of apolo- 
gising, but in the fear lest by so doing he might make 
matters worse, he changed his mind, and proceeded on 
his journey. 

The next stopping place was Kelise Kandi, a Persian 
village, where Burnaby became the guest of the chief 


proprietor, who had been informed of the 
prescribes story of the mustard plaster. 
for a Persian « You are a great hakim (doctor)," 

observed the Persian. 
" I am not a hakim," Burnaby remarked hastily. 
" Do not say that," followed the Persian. " Do not 
deny the talents that Allah has given you. Your arrival 
has cast a gleam of sunshine on our threshold." 

" What do you want me to do ? " enquired Burnaby. 
" My wife is poorly," said the Persian. " I ask you to 
cure her." 

" Well, I must see her," followed Burnaby. 

" Impossible," said the Persian, " she is in the harem. 
I cannot take vou there. Give me a mustard plaster for 

" I can't prescribe for her without seeing her," said 

After prolonged hesitation, the Persian consented 
to allow the " hakim '" to look at his wife's tongue, 
and he led the way to the harem. The lady, enveloped 
from head to foot in a sheet of gauze-like material, 
was reclining on cushions. Her feet, which she had just 
taken from two dainty white slippers, were very small and 
stockingless, and she nervously tapped the ground with 
her heel. 

" She is alarmed," said the Persian. "Be not 
alarmed," he added, turning to his wife. "It is the 
hakim, who has come to make you well." 

These remarks did not tranquilize the lady. Her heel 
tapped the ground more quickly than before, the whole 
of her body shook like an aspen-leaf. 

However, when Burnaby asked to see her tongue, 
she removed the folds of her veil, and allowed a very 
red tip to escape from her lips. 

" Well, what do you think of it ? " enquired the Per- 
sian, who was taking the greatest interest in these pro- 


Burnaby, who had nothing but praise for the tongue, 
then asked to see her eyes. 

" Why her eyes ? " 

" Because she may have jaundice. I must see if her 
eye is yellow." 

" Perhaps she had better expose the whole face," 
said the Persian. 

" Perhaps she had," remarked Burnaby. 

The lady then unwound the folds of muslin from around 
her head, and revealed pretty, regular features, while a 
pair of large black eyes, which looked through Burnaby 
as he gazed on them, were twinkling more with humour 
than fear. 

" What is the matter with you ? " enquired Burnaby. 

She blushed. Her husband then remarked that she 
fancied strange dishes at her meals, was in fact delicate ; 
and on learning further that the couple had been 
married only a few months, Burnaby diagnosed the case 
without difficulty. 

" I have no medicine for your complaint," he re- 

" No medicine ! ' said the Persian indignantly. 
" Mohammed has shown me the bottles and the little 
boxes. Besides that you have the wet paper." 

" A mustard plaster would be useless," said Burnaby. 

" But she must have something," said the husband ; 
so to satisfy him Burnaby gave him three grains of quin- 
ine, to be taken in three doses, one grain in each dose. 

" Will it do her much good ? " inquired the Persian. 

" That depends upon Allah," replied Burnaby. 

At the next village Burnaby found his reputation as a 
hakim still more inconvenient. To judge by the number 
of persons who begged for medicine, the whole population 
was unwell. Everyone put out a tongue and offered 
a pulse ; and they even pestered Radford — hindering him 
in his cooking — the belief having seized them that since 
the master was so great a hakim, the servant must neces- 
sarily have some medical skill . 


On reaching Khoi Burnaby became the guest of the 
Turkish consul, who complained of being dull. "My 
wife died six months ago," he said, " and I have not been 
able to find another." 

" Why do you not take a Kurdish girl ? " enquired 
a listener. " They make model wives. If their hus- 
bands have money they do not ask for any ; if the hus- 
bands have no money the wives never bother their heads 
about the matter. In addition to this, they do not care 
about fine clothes. A long piece of calico and a pair of 
slippers content them as well as all the silks and satins 
in Erzeroum bazaar." 

But there was a difficulty, it seems, for his previous 
wife was a Kurd, and in compliance with her suggestion 
he had engaged her father and mother as servants. 

" I have found them," continued the consul, " hard- 
working people. When my poor wife died, I allowed 
them to remain with me. If I marry again, my new lady 
will probably wish her own relations to come here, and 
I shall be obliged to get rid of my present servants." 

From Khoi Burnaby wrote, 28th February, 1877, 
to his sister Annie a long letter, which concludes : 
*' I have got very thin. Radford is reduced to a walking 

skeleton. From here I shall go to Batoum, 

that is if there is anvthing left of me to travel, as I am 
rapidly getting into that condition of body which would 
be required should I wish to crawl into a gas pipe." 

At a place called Toprak Kileh, he was taken with 
rheumatic fever, aggravated by the foulness of the atmos- 
phere in his sleeping room, which he shared with a few 
cows and a multitude of fleas. On his recovery he pro- 
ceeded to Kars, passing on his way through several 
Circassian villages. The beauty of the Circassian girls 
being famous the world over, he took particular notice of 
their faces. Several were seductive, but he found, to his 
surprise, that their complexions were not fair but olive. 
" The mischief they play," he says, -" is chiefly attribut- 
able to their large, flashing eyes and their small pearly 


teeth." At Kars he found 20,000 troops quartered, 
but the streets were filthy and the hospitals crowded 
with typhoid fever patients. At Ardahan he sold his 
horses ; and on reaching Livana he hired a cayek and 
proceeded by the Tschoroch river to Batoum — greatly 
to the terror and discomfort of Mohammed, who was an 
indifferent sailor. " My brother," he said, pointing to 
Radford, " is brave on the water ; I am brave on land ; 
we are both brave," and seizing his fellow servant's 
hand, he shook it heartily. 

Burnaby and Radford having boarded the steamer 
which was to carry them away, Mohammed followed 
them ; but when the moment for parting arrived, the 
poor fellow's countenance revealed the struggle that was 
going on in his mind, and some big tears rolled down his 

" My heart is very full," he said, " for am I not losing 
my lord, as well as my brother ? " and seizing Radford's 
hand, he wrung it heartily. 

" That Mohammed was not such a bad chap after all, 
sir," commented Radford when the vessel had got under 

The voyage to Constantinople was an uneventful one, 
and eight days later Burnaby arrived in London, bringing 
his friends handsome Turkish slippers embroidered on 
green velvet with gold, and gold-mounted walking 

At the earliest possible moment he settled himself to 
write, in baby hand, an account of his adventures, and 
it duly appeared in two volumes with the title On Horse- 
back through Asia Minor ;* nor has a more entertaining 
Odyssey ever left the Press. 

I spoke of his writing as a baby hand, and indeed it did 
not differ at 34, or even at 42, from what it had been at 
7 or 8. It was always the same ; and his style as a writer, 
to use Mr. Bowles's expression, " was that of an open- 
eyed ingenuous baby " — a baby with a man's appreciation 

* Sampson Low, Marston & Co. Our quotations are from this work. 


of humour. This is its distinctive note. His good 
nature, his courage, and his keen enjoyment of the in- 
congruities of life — of life's little jokes — stand revealed 
on every page he wrote. 

" The book is out," he wrote to his sister Annie. " Some 
of the critiques are good, others will probably be un- 
favourable. However an author has to run the gauntlet 
and he learns more through being blamed than through 
being praised. It is a good thing to realise to oneself the 
saying of the old Greek philosopher — Know thyself. 
Sharp criticisms are useful in that way. The book is 

selling well. 3,500 copies in the first edition I 

was asked to stay with but have declined all 

invitations. It is a bore being lionized." 


Spring 1877 — February 1878. 

burnaby and radford at the seat of war in 


Russia declared war against Turkey on 24th April, 
1877, and straightway poured battalion after battalion 

38-Bumaby and u P on ^ P lains of Roumania. For a time 
Radford the progress of the invaders was rapid, while 
P T°uX d y!° the Turkish leaders looked on supinely 
Nov. 1877. or retreated faultily ; and then occurred 
the resolute defence of Plevna by Osman Pasha. Many 
Englishmen were in favour of supporting Turkey, and 
none was more active in the agitation than Captain 
Burnaby, who insisted that the humiliation of Russia 
was vital to the salvation of India. Though the British 
Government decided not to interfere in the war, Burnaby, 
whose annual winter leave of absence was approaching, 
determined to go out to see the fighting ; and he attained 
his end by obtaining an honorary post as " travelling 
agent to the Stafford House Committee," a body of noble- 
men and others who sent out surgeons and dressers 
to the seat of the war. But he revolved a much bolder 
scheme, for it was his determination, if possible, to cross 
the Balkans and pass through the Russian lines to Plevna. 
Late in October, and accompanied by Radford, he set 
out for Constantinople, and on November 28th he joined 
at Adrianople his friend, Valentine Baker, who held 
command in the Turkish army. 

On being informed of Burnaby's project, Baker pointed 
out that the Russian lines had been drawn so closely 
round Plevna, that it would be all but impossible to pierce 



them ; and he urged his friend to abandon the idea. 
Finally Burnaby consented to abide by the decision 
of the Turkish generalissimo, Mehemet Ali ; but in the 
meantime he attended, as the following letter to the Staf- 
ford House Committee (December 3rd) shows, to his hon- 
orary duties : 

" I arrived," he says, " at Adrianople last week, 
and visited the hospital. You will be glad to know that 
every attention is being paid to the wounded. The 
wards are clean, lofty and well-ventilated. The food is 
of good quality, and there was an expression of pleasure 
which passed over the poor sufferers' countenances as the 
English surgeons walked around the wards and enquired 
after each man's ailment. I arrived in Sofia and visited 
the Stafford House wards. The wounded men have 
every attention paid to them ; they are as well looked 
after as they would be in any London hospital." 

The main body of the Turkish army was at Kamarli, a 
fortified position to the north east of Sofia, whence its 
leader, Shakir Pasha, had hoped to lead a force to relieve 
Plevna. At Kamarli Burnaby met Mehemet Ali, to 
whom he explained his project. 

" You are an English officer — full of energy and 
courage," replied Mehemet Ali, " and I should be the 
last man to dissuade you from any enterprise in which 
you might usefully show those qualities ; but there are 
plans which are so hazardous that it becomes folly to 
attempt them " ; and he urgently advised Burnaby 
to give up all thought of proceeding further with the 
enterprise. It would indeed have been a terribly danger- 
ous exploit for any man, but in the case of Burnaby, 
the Englishman whom, above all others, the Russians 
hated, it would have been simply to throw his life away. 
Only a few hours after this conversation the news came 
that Osman Pasha had been forced to capitulate with 
42,000 men and 77 guns ; and that consequently 120,000 
more Russians would be free to march against the al- 
ready outnumbered army of Shakir Pasha. A further 


misfortune to the Turks was the recall of Mehemet Ali, who 

was succeeded by the incapable, and ill-starred Suleiman 

Pasha. Nothing remained but for Shakir Pasha's force 

of 14,000 men to retreat ; and the duty of covering this 

retreat, that is to say of holding in check some, 50,000 

Russians led bv Gourko and others, fell UDon Baker, 

whose total force consisted of only 2,400 men. 

It was in vain that Baker begged for reinforcements. 

Shakir Pasha resolutely refused them. " Not a man 

can be spared," was the reply. " You 

. , A , ..„ i ./ « ., 39— The Battle of 

must hold on, and till death, tor the Tashkesan 

safetv of the whole arrav depends upon 31st Dec -> 

„ j v r 1877> 


Baker's army — that resolute little army to which was 
confided this tremendous task — had taken possession of 
three hills which looked down on the village of Tashke- 
san. Baker conducted operations from the central hill, 
and by his side stood Burnaby and Radford, the former 
armed with a long and formidable staff, with which he 
belaboured the shoulders of any Turk who showed him- 
self refractory. From his eminence Burnaby* could see 
the enemy advancing steadily across the plain — the 
infantry in long lines, the cavalry like interminable black 
dots speckling the snow-covered ground. The dots 
came nearer and nearer. The Russians had seventeen 
guns to Baker's seven. The firing became hot and fast, 
and at a distance of about 500 yards, " the whole of the 
Russian Guard broke out into one unanimous cheer of 
' Hurrah ! ' " and came on with a rush. 

As the cheer died away the Turks appeared to be sur- 
rounded, but when things were looking their blackest, 
Baker, suddenly turning to his trumpeter, shouted : 
" Sound the Turkish cry — the appeal to God ! ' Then, 
as if with one voice, there burst from the lips of the 2,400 
the shout Allah il allah ! 

It was a sensation," says Burnaby, " worth feeling ; 
it was a moment worth ten of the best vears of a man's 

* See " In Memoriam " 7th Ed. of On Horseback through Asia Minor. 


life ; and a thrill passed through my heart at the time — 
that curious sort of thrill — the sensation which you ex- 
perience when you read of something noble and heroic, 
or see a gallant action performed. It was grand to hear 
these 2,400 Mahometans, many of them raw levies at 
the time, cheering back in defiance of those thirty 
picked battalions, the choicest troops of the Czar." 

Presently Baker's aide-de-camp rode up to him with 
the announcement " All is lost ! Shakir Pasha has re- 
tired ; he has abandoned you. We shall all be cap- 

"It is not so hopeless as you think," said Baker. 
" Anyhow, we shall die in our places, rather than sur- 
render to the enemy." 

He then ordered an officer on his staff to take a couple 
of guns to a position a little to the left, and annoy the 
masses of infantry advancing in that direction. This 
was done, and the artillery fire, ably directed by the 
officer, did enormous execution in the enemy's ranks, 
and checked for a time his advance. Another officer was 
ordered to lead two squadrons of horse down hill in the 
direction of some Russian cavalry which were gradually 
advancing towards the right. The movement was 
skilfully executed, and the gallant manner in which this 
officer led his men against a force ten times their number, 
elicited hearty cheers from the Turkish infantry. 

But the enemy, though held in check for a moment, 
was not baffled. On he came in never-ending streams 
of skirmishers, which, as they reached the Turkish posi- 
tion, formed into seas of desperate soldiery. An ex- 
clamation from Baker, who was eagerly scanning the 
left of the Turkish position with his field glass, called 
Burnaby's attention in that direction. " We could see 
our men retiring," he says, " but in good order. They 
had been forced back by sheer weight of numbers. It 
now became necessary to withdraw our right and centre 
from our rapidly increasing foe, and to take up a fresh 
defensive line half a mile to the rear. Four guns were 


playing with unmistakable effect from the road below 
vis on the advancing foe. The Russians then concen- 
trated a very heavy cross fire on this point. The Turkish 
gunners became unsteady. They limbered up one piece, 
and commenced retiring. If the others had followed, 
the day would probably have been lost. General Baker 
saw this at a glance, and sticking his spurs into his horse, 
he galloped down the slippery height — his animal now 
up to the haunches in the snow, then sliding down the 
steepest of declivities— the loose stones and pebbles fly- 
ing like hail in the faces of those who attempted to follow 
him. He rode up to the retreating artillery men, made 
them return with the cannon to the original position, 
and remained there for more than an hour, in the most 
exposed part of the field — his presence so encouraging the 
gunners that they redoubled their exertions, and fired 
so fast and accurately that for a time they completely 
paralysed the Russians' movements. It was noon, 
below were wounded men and corpses, and horses without 
riders galloping to and fro. Shakir Pasha's troops could 
be seen in the distance, in full retreat across the plain ; 
and if the Russians had succeeded in breaking through 
Baker's line, every man of this force must have been 

At this moment Burnaby was riding with Mr. Francis 
Francis, of the Times. As they were ascending the height 
leading to the second position Burnaby's breastplate 
broke, the saddle turned, and he found himself in the 
snow ; while owing to a sprained ankle, he was unable 
to put his foot to the ground. The Russians were not 
more than a quarter of a mile distant, and their bullets 
spattered on the surrounding rocks ; but Mr. Francis 
did not hesitate a moment. Springing from his horse, 
he coolly unwound a long sash from his waistcoat, 
mended the breastplate with it, and then helped Burnaby 
to mount. 

The Russian officers, seeing the Turkish foe escaping 
from their grasp, again cheered on their men to the attack 



— though with thinned ranks, for they had already 
sustained a loss of over 2,000. The afternoon wore on, 
Baker sat on his grey horse gazing at his watch. Would 
that day ever finish ? Would that sun ever go down ? 
All this time a life and death struggle was going on 
between the two forces. It was the last position the 
Turks could hold. Every moment gained was so much 
time lost to the enemy. The Russian general knew this : 
he collected his men for a final effort. His forces gallant- 
ly advanced to the attack ; their cheers were met by 
counter cheers. Baker was in the foremost and most 
exposed place, standing in a hail of rifle bullets and shell 
fire, encouraging his men. The Russians came up the 
hill at the double, but broke with the Turkish fire; 
and the Turks, as their foes retreated, charged with the 
bayonet, and drove them into the valley below. The 
battle was over. The Turkish losses were 800, the Rus- 
sian about 3,000. For this brilliant feat Baker was 
thanked by the Sultan, and promoted to the rank of 
ferik or Lieutenant-General. 

Owing to Radford's activity, Christmas day was not 
allowed to pass by unhonoured. With some trouble 
he collected the materials for, and made a plum pudding, 
which, with a turkey procured from Sophia, was eaten 
by Burnaby, Baker and the other Englishmen in camp. 

From Tashkesen the army fell back to Matchka, where 
on January 6th another battle was fought, and Burnaby 
and Radford helped the English doctors, Gill and Heath, 
to dress the wounded. Then followed the terrible re- 
treat over the cruel Rhodope mountains — through 
Otlukoi, Bazardjik, Philippolis and Stanamaki to Gum- 
ardjini. The sufferings not only of the rank and file, 
but also of the officers, in this God-forsaken wild, were 
beyond description terrible. The unceasing frost fell 
upon them like pitiless knives, hunger gnawed their 
entrails. One day Radford, having had no sleep 
for more than forty hours — being all that time on the 
march through deep snow — fell asleep on his horse seven 


times, each time losing his balance and falling to the 
ground. Often the faithful fellow would bring a piece of 
biscuit, his own ration for the day, and try to persuade 
Burnaby that he had already eaten, while perhaps food 
had not passed his lips for twenty-four hours. 

On one occasion Burnaby saved Baker's life by rushing 
into his tent with great armfuls of snow and extinguishing 
a yorghan which had caught fire. So frightful was the 
cold that sometimes forty men would be frozen to death 
in one night. The sole consolation of the famished and 
weary soldiery was the knowledge that the end of their 
dreadful sufferings was steadily approaching. When 
the van gained a summit near Gumardjini, the sun burst 
forth in yellow glory, and from throat after throat rang 
the hoarse cry of "The sea! The sea." The sight was, 
indeed, not less welcome to them than had been, centur- 
ies before, a similar sight to Xenophon and his Ten Thou- 
sand. Cold and famine having done their worst, to them 
succeeded poison. By whom administered was never 
known, but after a dinner at Gumardjina in the Greek 
Archbishop's house, Baker and Burnaby were seized by 
excruciating pains, traceable only to the presence of 
arsenic. Thanks, however, to the skill of the English 
doctors, they recovered, and a few hours later reached the 
little port of Kara-aghatch, whence they were conveyed 
by a transport to Constantinople. 

In a letter home, dated 17th February 1878, Burnaby 
writes, " Things here look very unsettled. I hope that 
there will be another stand made by the Turks, and that 
the Russians will not be allowed to enter the city. How- 
ever, as the enemy is slowly creeping on, and the Turks 
are doing nothing to stop them, the Muscovite will 
probably be here before long. And so England does not 
mean to fight for Constantinople after all. What a 
wretched lot of shopkeepers we are ! The country would 
seem to have lost all its backbone." 

If the Turks did not stop the Russians, however, 
an English minister — Lord Beaconsfield — did. In 


Burnaby's words, " The Russian troops could look from a 
distance of three or four miles at the gilded minarets, at 
the pinnacles of the houses of Constantinople. They saw 
their coveted prey within their reach, and yet they 
were stopped by the indomitable pluck and resolution, 
and energy of that great man, our Prime Minister."* 

Burnaby's period of leave having all but expired, 
he and Radford at once set out for England, but Radford, 
who during the terrible retreat had con- 
Radford, tracted typhus fever, was already marked 
22l i87fi eb '' ^ or death. Everything that human skill 
could devise was brought to bear, but in 
vain ; and to use the words of his afflicted master, " forty- 
eight hours after reaching England's shores, one of the 
noblest souls that ever tenanted a human frame soared 
away towards that unknown bourn, from which no one 
can ever return, "f 

After Radford's death Burnaby hastened to London, 
and he asked his brother Evelyn to accompany him 
to the funeral. As the train moved out of Charing Cross 
Station, Evelyn, who was of a nervous temperament, 
was startled by hearing his brother say coolly, " I hope, 
Evelyn, you are not nervous, but Radford died of the 
plague. It is very courageous of you, seeing that I am 
wearing the clothes in which I nursed him." Evelyn 
was furious, but calmed down on being told that a bath at 
Dover with carbolic acid would lessen the chances of 
infection. On arriving at Dover Burnaby said " I am 
sure I shall break down at the funeral. What is a good 
medicine to keep one's nerves quiet ? ' 

A chemist, on being consulted, advised and supplied a 
bottle of bromide. The coffin was conveyed from the 
barracks to the cemetery on a gun carriage, the route 
being lined by thousands of people ; and Burnaby, who 
sat well back so as not to be seen, applied his lips assidu- 
ously to the bottle. But in spite of his antidote he 

♦Speech at Town Hall, Birmingham, 30th Mar., 1880. 

•fHe died in Burnaby's arms at the Royal Artillery Barracks, Dover. 


sobbed nearly all the way ; and he quite broke down 
when the volleys were fired over the grave. " In Rad- 
ford," he said, " I have lost a sincere friend. There 
are not many men who would give their life for a friend, 
but Radford would have readily given his for his mas- 

Over the grave Burnaby erected a stone bearing the 
following inscription : " George Radford, Private in the 
Royal Horse Guards. Died at Dover, February 22nd, 
1878, aged 42, of typhus fever, contracted during the Re- 
treat of Sulieman Pasha's Army across the Balkans in 
Turkey. George Radford was a brave soldier, a faith- 
ful servant, and as true as steel. This stone is erected to 
his memory by the man whom he served so well." 

To Radford's widow Burnaby was persistently kind. 
He set her up in business, got two of the children into 
schools, and found a place in a good family for the eldest 

In June 1878, some three months after peace had been 
proclaimed, a congress of the Great Powers, held at Ber- 
lin, sanctioned the cession to Russia of a part of Bessara- 
bia and the towns of Batoum, Kars and Ardahan. 
Roumania, Servia and Montenegro were created indepen- 
dent kingdoms, and the administration of Cyprus was 
transferred to England, who also assumed a kind of pro- 
tectorate over Asiatic Turkey. Burnaby never ceased 
to regret that England had not from the first acted differ- 
ently. " Had she, standing firm," he said, " informed 
Russia that the invasion of Turkey would mean war with 
England, no war would have taken place." Still, events 
having followed the course they did, he considered that 
Lord Beaconsfield had, at the congress, done tolerably 
for England. " If we are wise," he remarked, " we shall 
insist : (1) that our protectorate of Asia Minor shall be 
real, and not merely nominal ; (2) that a well organized 
gendarmerie under British officers shall take the place 
of the inefficient Zaptiehs ; (3) that all the military com- 
mands in Asia Minor shall be held by Englishmen. This 


done we can laugh at Russia, and unless it is done Russian 
intrigue in Asia Minor will soon cause more trouble." 
He also recommended a firm policy in Afghanistan. 
" Russian agents," he said, " have held out to the Afghans 
the loot of the opulent cities of British India ; let us 
hold out to them the loot of Moscow and St. Peters- 

* See Preface to 7th Edition of On Horseback through Asia Minor. 





/ V.' r; 


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february 1878 10th december 1881. 

Marriage and the Birmingham Election, 
bibliography i 

8. Letters to the Times on Free Trade, 15th January, 

1879, and subsequently. 

9. Letters to the Birmingham Daily Gazette (in 1880 and 

after) and the Birmingham Post. 

The Conservatives had ruled the country for five years, 

a General Election impended, and Burnaby believed it his 

„ „ duty to try his utmost to give them a new 

41- Candidate J „ J „. s , . ,. 

for lease of power. His travels m distant 

Birmingham, countries had convinced him that one of 
Mr. J. B.Stone. _.'.,, t 

England s most pressing needs was a 

vigorous foreign policy, and that the appropriation of the 
reins of office by so timid and vacillating a minister as 
Mr. Gladstone would be nothing short of a national 
calamity. Having, with characteristic daring, conceived 
the idea of attacking the biggest stronghold of his 
antagonists, namely, the town of Birmingham, he com- 
municated his desire to Sir William Hart-Dyke, the Con- 
servative whip, who at once consulted Mr. (now Sir) 
J. Benjamin Stone,* one of the most influential of the 
Birmingham Conservatives. '* Birmingham," said Sir 
William, " is a place that appreciates distinctive charac- 
ter, and I think Captain Burnaby's personality would 
appeal to Birmingham people, owing to the celebrity he 

* It is the custom to associate Sir Benjamin Stone with photography, 
but it is, nevertheless, as a scientist and an archaeologist that he will be 
chiefly remembered. 



obtained in going out in such difficult circumstances to 

In the end Sir William suggested that Mr. Stone and 
Mr. R. W. Hanbury, the member for Tamworth, should 
call on Captain Burnaby and discuss the matter with 

On being shown into his room at the Horse Guards 
the deputation, who found him sitting, in his shirt sleeves, 
on a bedside, explained their errand, and after a few 
minutes' conversation they promised to submit his name 
to the committee of the Birmingham Conservative Club 
as that of a candidate for the representation of the town 
in the Conservative interest. A little later Burnaby was 
invited to dine with the club ; and in preparation for the 
event he composed a long speech, learnt it by heart, 
and repeated it, almost verbatim, to Mr. T. Gibson 
Bowles one evening in St. James's Street. Mr. Bowles's 
encomiums delighted him, and in his success he seemed 
to be separated by whole years from the state in which he 
had found himself when he entered the house. A few 
days afterwards when on a visit to Mr. Stone, at Erding- 
ton Grange, near Birmingham, he repeated the feat ; 
and his speech having given satisfaction, the Birmingham 
Conservatives formally adopted him as their candidate* 
— a colleague for him being found in the person of the 
Hon. A. C. G. Calthorpe.| For some weeks he had 
suffered both in health and spirits, for, like his father, 
he was sometimes afflicted with the melancholy of the 
padge-owl, but all his atrabilious humours vanished at 
the thought of the approaching hurly-burly. He saw 
everything in a golden mist, and he entered upon the con- 
flict with the rapture, the hilarious joy he used to feel 
when, as a school boy, he looked forward to the dissipa- 
tions of Bedford Fair. Henceforward he was a frequent 
guest at Erdington Grange, where he composed, or 

*Name submitted to the Birmingham Conservative Club, 5th June, 
187s. He was adopted as candidate after July 23rd. 

f Now Lord Calthorpe. 































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p— t 
















burnished, most of his speeches, which he invariably, 
before delivering them in public, recited to Mr. Stone, 
and with scarcely a single deviation from the manuscript, 
although, when reported they, as a rule, rilled five col- 
umns of a newspaper. Mr. Stone accompanied Captain 
Burnaby to most of his meetings, and he, Mr. Joseph 
Rowlands,* Mr. J. Satchell Hopkins,! Mr. W. H. Green- 
ing, J and Mr. W. Barton, all of whom fought doughtily 
for the cause, figure frequently in the cartoons of The 
Dart\\ and The Oivl.§ 

" Why do you not try at some place less difficult than 
Birmingham ? " enquired one of Burnaby's friends. " If 
you were to tackle some county constitu- 
ency — some peddling borough- — you would, 42— Burnaby 
with your reputation, get in easily." and GIadstone - 

' I never fly at small game," replied 
Burnaby ; " besides if I were to win Birmingham, I 
should be offered a place in the cabinet." To others who 
lamented the hopelessness of the fight, he said, " I have 
a better chance than you suppose. The labouring classes 
are beginning to find out that, after all, the landed classes 
are their natural allies ; and with the help of the Conserva- 
tive working man I shall yet carry Birmingham." 

Burnaby's early speeches were mainly condemnatory 
of Mr. Gladstone's predilection for Russia ; and a 
damaging statement which he made against Mr. Glad- 
stone on 29th October, 1878, led the latter to enquire 
upon what foundation Burnaby rested his allegations. 
So Burnaby hurried to the Reading Room at the Junior 
Carlton Club, and raised round himself a barricade 
formed of the immense files of the Times. After a while, 

* Chairman of the Executive Committee of the Birmingham Con- 
servative Association. 

t President of the Birmingham Conservative Association. 
% A prominent advocate of Bible Teaching in the Schools, 

|| Drawn by G. F. Sershall and E. C. Mountfort. The latter is still 

§ They were by George H. Bernasconi, who we believe, is dead. His 
son draws in his father's style. The Owl was started in 1879, so it is now 
in its 30th year. 


looking over the top of his fortress and addressing Mr. 
Rose Norton, he said, " Mr. Gladstone has written to me 
denving that he ever said the Turks should be driven bag 
and baggage out of Europe, and I am hunting for the 

" Mr. Gladstone did not say that," observed Mr. Nor- 
ton. " The nearest approach to such a statement occurs 
in a pamphlet of his, entitled Bulgarian Horrors.'" 

Burnaby procured the pamphlet, and after reading it, 
replied to Mr. Gladstone candidly admitting his error ; 
and Mr. Gladstone wrote again to thank Burnaby 
for a letter exhibiting all the frankness of a soldier. 
Shortly afterwards the Prince of Wales (the present King) 
marched with the Blues, as their Colonel in Chief, from 
Trinity Church, Windsor, to the Barracks, where there 
was a parade ; and Burnaby having noticed Mr. Glad- 
stone among the spectators, invited him to stay and lunch 
with the prince and the officers. 

Among the more sturdy of the Birmingham Conserva- 
tive organizations was the Sparkbrook Club, of which 
Burnaby was president : Mr. Robert J. Buckley, the 
musical critic, now so well known as the biographer of 
Sir Edward Elgar, being one of the most active mem- 
bers of the committee. 

When Burnaby visited the Sparkbrook Club Room, 
he had to stoop low in the doorway to save his head, 
and it is recalled that when he had signed the book he 
said, addressing the secretary, " D d bad hand, eh ! ' 

" No," was the reply, " but a small hand for so large 
a man." 

" How thoroughly," observed Mr. Buckley, " Burnaby 
enjoyed the quite hopeless fight against such powerful 
Liberals as Bright, Chamberlain and Muntz ! How 
good humoured were his remarks concerning his oppo- 
nents ! ' Muntz,' he said, ' always tops the poll, but 
that is only natural seeing that he has the least ability. 
We may not be able to get in first, but we'll give them a 
run.' " Once when he was speaking in the Town Hall 


By permission of Mrs. Aubrey Le Blond 
(formerly Mrs. Fred Burnaby). 


the vast crowds outside amused themselves by singing, 
hooting and groaning. 

" Poor chaps," said Burnaby, " they brag of their 
freedom while they want to intimidate persons who 
dare to hold opposite opinions. They're singing ' Britons 
never shall be slaves,' while they're led by the nose by 
the caucus which consists of the myrmidons of Chamber- 
lain, who has so perfectly succeeded in hood-winking the 
Birmingham people." 

At a subsequent meeting held in the town a number 
of his enemies made so deafening a noise that his 
voice was quite drowned. He was equal to the 
occasion, however, for he at once sat down in front 
of the audience, took out a tobacco pouch and pipe, 
and having struck a match on his foot, smoked quite 
at his ease, while his opponents, most of whom were in 
the pit, imitated the roaring of a menagerie. 

" I shall make my speech," remarked Burnaby during 
a lull, " if I sit here for a week " ; and he did make it. 

Among the posters which appeared on every local 
hoarding, was one representing a soldier receiving the 
lash, supposed to represent the kind of treatment 
meted to the populace become soldiers by aristocratic 
officers like Burnaby. At one of the meetings this poster 
was exhibited. 

" What about this ? " shouted the man who displayed 

There was an uproar at once. " Put him out ! " 
shouted the Conservatives. 

" No, no," said Burnaby with a strong voice dominat- 
ing the confusion, and waving his hands in sign of silence. 
" The gentleman has asked a question, and deserves a 
fair reply. He wishes to know what the picture repre- 
sents. I understand it is intended to pourtray me as 
giving a good hiding to Chamberlain." 

Of course everybody laughed, and Burnaby went on 
to point out the difference between Gladstone and Dis- 
raeli in dealing with the Russians. " Gladstone," he said, 


" made a fine speech and did nothing, Disraeli said noth- 
ing but sent a fleet to Besika Bay." 

Naturally the Liberals did not receive these attacks 
without retaliation ; and Mr. Chamberlain, in particular, 
who called Burnaby Captain Bobadil, replied with many 
a caustic remark. " We have all heard," he once re- 
marked, " of Burnaby's ride into Khiva, but that will 
seem nothing when compared with his run out of Bir- 

Though these early speeches of Burnaby had all been 
repeated from memory, it must not be supposed that he 
followed his manuscript slavishly. The numerous inter- 
ruptions provoked many an impromptu and racy digres- 
sion, and his nimble wit and other natural gifts gave 
him all the force of an extempore speaker. The antagon- 
ism of his audiences, indeed, helped rather than hindered 
him. He was always self-collected on the platform, 
he discontinued his habit, for which he was taken to task 
by the Owl,* of interspersing his speeches with slang, 
and his delivery improved rapidly ; but it was not until 
three years later that he developed the entirely new kind 
of political oratory, which held his hearers spell-bound 
and pulverised all opposition. 

In the meantime he had proposed marriage to a young 
Irish heiress, Miss Elizabeth Hawkins- Whitshed, only 
daughter of Sir St. Vincent Bentinck 
43— Marriage, Hawkins- Whitshed, Bart., of Killon- 
1879. ' carrick, County Wicklow, a lady whose 
piquant beauty, charm of manner and in- 
tellectual gifts, had from his first acquaintance with her, 
held him in chains ; and the marriage took place at 
St. Peter's Church, Onslow Gardens. Among the wed- 
ding presents was a gift from the Prince of Wales. At 
the end of August the bride and bridegroom paid a visit 
to Mr. and Mrs. Stone, and on the last day of that month 
they were feted in the Lower Grounds, Aston — the Mar- 
quis of Hertford, Lord Norton, the Hon. A. G. C. and 

* See Cartoon, 29th July, 1880. 


From The Dart, 29th Nov., 1879. 

Don Quixote (Captain Burnaby) : Gave Bright a jacketing. " Eh, my trusty ? Was 

I right ? " 

Sancho Panza (Mr. J. B. Stone): " My lord, my lord, you'll come to grief if you 
measure lances with Sir John de Bright ." 

Drawn by G. F. Sersliall. 


Mrs. Calthorpe, Mr. Saul Isaac, M.P., Mr. S. S. Lloyd, 
M.P., the Hon. C. L. and Mrs. Adderley, Mr. and Mrs. 
Stone, Colonel and Mrs. Ratcliffe, and many other well- 
known persons being present. 

A few days after this event Major* and Mrs. Burnaby 
set out for Algiers, but between Paris and Marseilles they 
were snow-bound, and Mrs. Burnaby fell ill. On reaching 
Algiers she was discovered to be in the early stage of 
consumption, and, in obedience to doctors' orders, 
Burnaby took her to Switzerland — the sea journey being 
made in the company of his old friend, Captain Colvile, 
who was also travelling with a newly-wedded wife. 
Mrs. Burnaby soon benefited from the Alpine air, and she 
has since spent much of her life in Switzerland. 

Leaving Mrs. Burnaby at a sanitorium, Burnaby re- 
turned to England, and after delivering at Birmingham 
a speech in which he advocated a system of 

Protection as the only means of enabling M— Comedy at 

J -ii ffolyer- 

Great Britain to compete with other hampton. 

States, he turned aside to help the Conserv- 
atives of Wolverhampton. The meeting was held in the 
Agricultural Hall ; but as his intonation differed from 
that to which many of his hearers were accustomed, 
they fell foul of him, and greeted his references to India 
and Candahar with interrupting ejaculations of " h'yar, h' 
yar ! lawidaw." 

Having fixed his eye on a couple of the funny ones, 
Burnaby called out, " Pass those two men up to the front 
h'yah, will you." 

Sport having been scented, the two unfortunates were 
immediately hustled forward, looking very uncomfort- 
able. Burnaby leaned over the platform, and having 
obtained a firm grip of each by the collar, he lifted them 
up, held them out straight, and carried them so suspended 
to the back of the platform. Depositing one in a chair, 
he said, " You sit there, little man! " and then carrying 

♦Major, nth September, 1879; Lieutenant-Colonel, 1880; Colonel, 


the other, still, at the end of his extended arm, three 
yards further he dropped him into another chair with, 
" and you sit there, little man." 

The effect was electric, the cheering loud and. long. 
Burnaby on that occasion outdid himself as a speaker ; 
there had never been a more successful political meeting 
in the town, and the result was the return of the first 
Conservative member for Wolverhampton. 

Burnaby also assisted his cousin, General Burnaby, 
and Lord John Manners, who were contesting North 
Leicestershire ; and he spoke at Leicester 
45— A Merry where, in his huge great coat which he 
Leicester, wore out of doors even in mild weather, 
he was a familiar figure. On one occa- 
sion when he rose to address a meeting held in the 
Temperance Hall, the rear of which had been monopol- 
ised by a party of roughs, the place suddenly became a 
pandemonium ; and neither he nor any of his friends 
could obtain a hearing. Presently his eye flashed, his 
cheek flushed, and, amid a partial lull in the boohing 
and jeering, he drew up his burly frame to its full height, 
and boldly announced that unless the noise immediately 
ceased, he would himself throw the disturbers out of the 
room. As the threat was met with derisive laughter 
and even challenges, he buttoned his coat, and despite 
the entreaties of his friends, he quitted the platform, 
stalked down the hall, and demanded to be shown the 
ringleader. Then singling out his man he ploughed his 
way through the crowd and felled him with a terrific blow. 
This was no sooner done than the friends of the fallen 
man rushed at Burnaby, who, revelling in the melee, 
struck out right and left — and every man who came with- 
in reach of his terrible fist fell sprawling — so that in a 
minute or two there was a clear space of six or seven 
feet around him. By this time, however, the damaged 
members of the gang had thought it prudent to retire 
from the hall, and Burnaby ploughed his way back to the 
platform amid a storm of cheers. The rest of the meeting 



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was of an uneventful nature ; but when all was over 
Burnaby, on descending the steps of the hall, found a 
number of roughs waiting for him. On the appearance, 
however, of his colossal form, their valour forsook them, 
and he sauntered in his huge great coat, head and shoul- 
ders above the tallest of them, down the street and to- 
wards his hotel. 

After one of the Birmingham meetings, as he was leav- 
ing the Aston Grounds, someone threw a potato and hit 
him, but though he looked round, he said nothing. 
A crowd of ruffians, however, having followed him to his 
cab, where they incommoded him by shouting, swearing, 
flinging insults and boohing, he stretched out his left arm, 
and" with the words " Get away ! " he turned smartly 
round and tumbled four or five of them into a writhing 
confused heap. As he took his seat he said, looking down 
at the tangle of arms and legs, " I hope I haven't broken 
any of the beggars." 

When Parliament was dissolved Burnaby was in 
France, and the Birmingham Conservatives sent for him 
post haste. He arrived on March 15th, 46— The 
to be met on the New Street platform by Bi ^ i c n t f h n a ; m 
the leaders of the party ; and from that 31st March, 
day forward he and Mr. Calthorpe gave 1880 ' 

themselves no rest. At one of the meetings there was 
continual interruption, and at last Burnaby shouted out, 
" You are the friends of Russia ; you are the friends of 
despots ; you are not Englishmen, you are simply 
tools in the hands of a despotic caucus." At another 
meeting, at which he appeared in a vivid green tie, as 
an insinuating compliment to the Irish voters, there 
was more rioting, and the Conservatives, on the principle 
that it is better to turn out wrong person rather than no 
person, seized a dirty, though, nevertheless, quite inno 
cent scarecrow of a man and hustled him from the room. 
Burnaby, however, having expressed his regret that it 
had been necessary to expel " the gentleman with a black 
face," his opponents were mollified, and he was allowed 


to expend whatever energy he pleased on Russia and the 
caucus. When his enemies retaliated by charging him, 
once more, with being an advocate of flogging in the army 
— he met the slander by a letter addressed to the Bir- 
mingham Daily Gazette (29th March 1880) : " Infamous 
falsehoods," he said, " are being circulated by members 
of the Liberal Association. They state that I have 
advocated the use of the cat on the private soldier. 
This is a gross misrepresentation. I have said that if 
the strongest opponent of the lash was a soldier, and his 
insubordinate disposition caused him to commit a breach 
of discipline in the face of the enemy, and he had to choose 
between twenty-five lashes or death, he would prefer 
the whip to undergoing the extreme penalty." 

Once when asked at a meeting whether he had not 
advocated, and even ordered the lash, he said from the 
platform, " Damned lie, that's my answer." On another 
occasion he replied to a heckler, " Anything about politics 
is in order, but to questions regarding my personal 
character I shall not repty. If it won't stand alone, 
it must fall. I shall never run to its support " — surely a 
fine and dignified retort, and worthy of any hero in 
Plutarch or Sallust. For long the Radical party hated 
Burnaby, with a blind, rancorous and furious hatred. A 
town of factories and factory folk, of smoke, blacks and 
sweat, of wheels innumerable and the noise of wheels, 
had no sympathy — -no fellow feeling — with the essenced 
aristocrat, the carpet knight, the heartless martinet, 
the bloody lash-advocate, as they had been taught to 
regard him. " Indeed," says one of Burnaby 's friends, 
' there was no lie too stupid, no fabrication too gross, 
for his political opponents." But little by little his 
splendid personality told on them, they abandoned, one 
by one, their cherished chimeras, and at last they got 
really to like him. Nomination day* passed by without 

* Burnaby was nominated by Mr. J. B. Stone, J. P., Mr. John Lowe, J. P., 
Mr S. S. Lloyd, Mr. G. C. Adkins, Mr. S. Hurst, Mr. J. D. Gillispie, Mr. 
(afterwards Sir) James Sawyer, Mr. John Flynn. 


From The Dart, 14th Feb., 1880. 

A Valentine to the Hon. A. C. G. Calthorpe. 

Nurse Stone : " There's a good little boy. Hell soon begin to talk ! Ducky ! 
Papa Burnabv : " And then won't he crow ! Give him a ridey pidey ! there ! 
Drawn by G. F. Sershall. 



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incident, for the Liberals were assured of victory, owing 
to their confidence that the order of their leaders, ' l Vote 
as you are told," would be strictly obeyed. Some wards 
were bidden to poll for Bright and Muntz, others for 
Muntz and Chamberlain, and others for Bright and Cham- 
berlain. This they religiously did ; and the result of the 
poll, which took place on March 31st, was as follows : 

Muntz, P. H. (L.) 22,969 

Bright, John (L.) 22,079 

Chamberlain, J. (L.) 19,544 

Burnaby, Major (C.) 15,735 

Calthorpe, Hon. A. C. G. (C.) 14,308 

Burnaby was defeated, but he had shown splendid 
fight, and his party was soon to reap the benefits that re- 
sulted from his exertions. Sir James Sawyer, who suc- 
ceeded Mr. J. Satchell Hopkins as President of the Bir- 
mingham Conservative Association, writes : " Captain 
Burnaby's service to Birmingham was great. Although 
unsuccessful in his own strenuous effort to give local re- 
presentation in Parliament to the Conservative party, his 
work led to the success of Mr. Henry Matthews (now 
Lord Llandaff), who was returned for East Birmingham 
in 1886, and at once appointed Home Secretary." 

On 10th May, 1880, Mrs. Burnaby presented her hus- 
band with a son, who received the names Harry 
Arthur Gustavus St. Vincent.* " I have a son," said 
Burnaby incidentally to Mr. Wright, " and he bids fair 
to be as big as his father." 

* Harry, after Mr. Harry Villebois, one of his godfathers ; Arthur, 
after Mrs. Burnaby's cousin, the Duke of Portland, another god-father ; 
Gustavus, after his grandfather Burnaby ; St. Vincent after Mrs. 
Burnaby's father. About this time Burnaby removed from 29, Emperor's 
Gate, to 18, Charles Street. 

K 2 


10th december 1881— 4th march 1882. 

The Powell and the Brine and Simmons' Attempts 
to Cross the Channel. 

Burnaby was not so absorbed in politics as to forget his 

old love, ballooning. For years one aeronaut after 

„ _ .,_, another had tried to cross the English 
47 — Terrible 
Death of Mr. Channel by balloon, but only to meet with 

Walter Powell, f a i mre . One of the most notable of the 
10th Dec, 1881. 

attempts was that made by M. Durouf 

and his wife, who ascended at Calais, 31st August, 1874, 
late in the evening. After drifting about all night they 
dropped into the German ocean whence after great priva- 
tions, they were rescued by a fishing smack. Among 
the sympathisers of the unfortunate couple who, owing 
to the destruction of their balloon, found themselves in 
difficult straits, was Captain Burnaby, who raised con- 
tributions for them ; and when, later, they made an 
ascent from the Crystal Palace in a balloon kindly lent 
by Mr. Coxwell, he helped still further to swell their 
pockets by becoming one of the voyagers. Besides mak- 
ing occasional ascents at this time himself, he was pre- 
sent at all the principal ascents made by others. He took 
a keen interest in the balloon race which occurred on 
4th September, 1880, when eight aerostats competed — 
the winner being The Owl, which carried Mr. Wright, 
Commander Cheyne, Mr. Pullan, and an American gentle- 
man ; and also in the International Contest, on October 
21st of the same year, between England, represented by 
Mr. Wright in the Eclipse, and France, represented by 



M. de Fonvielle, in the Academie ef Aerostation Met&r- 
ologique de France. The Frenchman descended in the 
mud off Hayling island, and Mr. Wright, who was pro- 
claimed winner, at a spot on dry land a mile distant. 
After the race one of Burnaby's friends wrote to Mr. 
Wright : " I knew you could do the job well, and I told 
the general that the Frenchman would never follow you 
about, and if he only went on long enough that you would 
drown him, and you devilish near did as far as I can make 
out. How sick those French coves must have been! 
How about Lord Coxwell, he must be down a peg I should 
think ? " 

As we look back on those times, the old rivalries be- 
tween Mr. W T right and Mr. Coxwell, and French and Eng- 
lish are sufficiently amusing ; but one fact must not be 
lost sight of in connection with this contest — namely, 
that the Frenchman's ambition evidently was not only 
to beat Mr. Wright, but to cross the channel, and thus 
accomplish what the Duroufs had failed to do in 1874. 
He approached as near to the sea as he dared, and on 
finding that the wind would not allow him to carry out 
his idea, he descended, with the result of a damaged 
balloon. This ambition to cross the channel, which 
fired so many contemporary aeronauts, was a little later 
to have a far more tragic result. 

Among those who were bitten with the craze was Mr. 
Walter Powell, M.P. for Malmesbury, who asked Mr. 
Wright* to lend him a balloon for the purpose of crossing 
the Channel on July 12th, 1881. In reply Mr. 
Wright begged him to abandon the idea, at any rate 
until he had had more experience with balloons ; but the 
advice was only thrown away, and Mr. Powell deter- 
mined to make the attempt on the first opportunity. 
Later he ascended once or twice with Mr. Wright and he 
also made a number of ascents that summer in a balloon 
of his own. But his infatuation for aeronautics was 
destined to be his doom, as it has been the doom of so 

* The letter is dated ioth July, 1881. 


many far more experienced aeronauts. It had been 
arranged that on the tenth of December — which turned 
out to be a cloudy day with threatenings of snow — he 
should make an ascent from Bath in the Saladin, in the 
company of Captain Templer and Mr. Agg-Gardner. 
The balloon sailed straight for Exeter and on reaching 
Eype near Bridport the voyagers attempted to descend. 
Captain Templer and Mr. Agg-Gardner were thrown out of 
the car — the latter sustaining a fracture of the leg ; and 
the balloon, with Mr. Powell in it, rose suddenty to a 
great height, and was carried out to sea. And so in the 
words of an old boat builder, the only witness of the acci- 
dent, " Walter Powell," who was last seen waving his 
hands to his friends, " drifted amid the snow clouds 
into the thick night, with Death above, Death below, 
Death all around — and nobody able to help." 

The following account of the disaster was sent by 
Captain Templer to Mr. Wright, as the leading authority 
on aeronautics. 


December 21st, 1881. 
Dear Wright, 

Everything was done that possibly could have been, 
and there is no blame to either of us. It was blowing 
about 35 miles an hour. The car went right over, pitch- 
ing me out as I was holding on the valve. I had a good 
place, and was dragged about 60 yards. A squall struck 
her, and the valve rope cut its way through the flesh of 
my hands. I called Powell to come out, but he ( I think he 
imagined he could get her in under the cliff on the beach) 
did not come out but stood up. I then fancy he had an 
idea of crossing over (to France) for he waved one hand. 
When he had been gone six minutes I fancied the balloon 
was not going up, and I got nervous and went off to see 
if I could do anything ; you know the rest. I am waiting 
here as a reliable man. 


Mr. Good* fancies he saw the balloon drop in the bay. 
I have dragged the spot, and am still searching. I shall 
be in London on Tuesday, and will let you know where to 
see me. I should have come down at Symondsbury, 
but Powell, who had worked the balloon, parted with a 
big bag of ballast to get over a house. I opened the valve 
immediately and never eased it again." 

Not only was poor Powell never seen again, no vestige 
of his balloon was ever found. 

This terrible accident, far from causing aeronauts to 
abandon the idea of crossing the channel, only made 
them the more desirous to accomplish the 48— The Brine 
feat. Among these ambitious ones was ^fig ^ 
Colonel Brine, R.E., who requested Mr. the Channel, 
Wright both to lend a balloon and to ac- * th Mar " 1882 - 
pany him on the proposed trip. Mr. Wright for various 
reasons declined, but he introduced Colonel Brine to 
another aeronaut, Mr. Joseph Simmons, who showed 
himself agreeable. Colonel Brine and Mr. Simmons 
made their ascent at Canterbury on March 4th, 1882, 
at 11.30, and an hour later the balloon passed over 
Dover, whence it was watched by an interested crowd. 
For a time the wind continued to drive them in the direc- 
tion of France, but when they were some ten miles from 
land it suddenly changed, and the aeronauts found them- 
selves making straight for the German ocean. Believing 
that the only safe way was to descend into the sea 
and take their chance of being picked up, they put on 
their cork jackets and opened the valve. The gas rushed 
out, and they fell with rapidity into the water. 

" We are dead men ! " said Colonel Brine. 

" No," said Simmons, " the car will float us both." 

In the meantime the anxiety on the sea front was in- 
tense, for by means of glasses the balloon had been seen 
to drop into the water. After a time, to the relief and 
joy of the spectators, a steamer, which proved to be the 
Foam from Calais, was observed approaching the 

* No doubt the boat builder. 


unfortunate aeronauts. It reached the car. But had it 
reached it in time ? An hour later the Foam steamed 
along side the Admiralty Pier, with the aeronauts and 
their collapsed balloon on board, and the car hanging over 
the vessel's side. A tumultuous cheer rent the air ; and 
the aeronauts stepped on shore little the worse for their 
adventure. Still it had been a frightfully narrow escape, * 
for when rescued they were above their knees in water. 
Burnaby, who had been paying a visit to Tunis, hap- 
pened a few hours after this event to be crossing the 
Channel, on his way home, in the Calais-Dover boat ; 
and the daring of the two aeronauts monopolised the 
passengers' conversation. On arriving in London, he 
sought out Mr. Simmons, who declared that his failure 
was owing to the change of wind, which had suddenly 
shifted from north to south-west. Burnaby, however, 
embraced the theory that at different altitudes a breeze 
can be found blowing in a different direction from the 
current of air to be met with near earth or sea ; and he 
asseverated that had the baffled aeronauts been provided 
with sufficient ballast to enable them to ascend to a high 
altitude, they would have met with a favourable breeze. 

* Mr. Simmons died in 18S9 from injuries sustained in a balloon acci- 
dent at Ulting, near Maldon, Essex, 26th August, 1889. 


4th march 1882 — 5th June 1882. 

Across the Channel by Balloon. 

bibliography : 

10. A Ride Across the Channel and other Adventures in 

the Air 1882. 

11. The Life, Adventures and Political Opinions of 
Frederick Gustavus Burnaby, by R. K. Mann. 
(Revised by Burnaby 1882). 

On leaving Mr. Simmons, Burnaby determined to 
attempt to cross the Channel himself— ascending from 
Dover or Folkestone — and he at once 
49— Crossing the wro t e to Mr. Wright, requesting the loan 
23rdMa° n , 6 l882. of a balloon for the purpose. Mr. Wright 
replied immediately, and with enthusiasm. 
" I have," he said, " a balloon that will just suit you. 
Unlike Simmons' s, which was small, old and leaky, it is 
nearly new, and it holds 36,000 feet of gas." He further 
added, though this was scarcely a recommendation, 
that " poor Powell had once made an ascent in it " ; and 
in a postcript, he expressed his desire to accompany 
Colonel Burnaby in the trip. But even had Burnaby 
been a lighter man, it is questionable whether he would 
have accepted the offer of Mr. Wright's company, 
for he was unwilling (and naturally) to share with another 
whatever glory might be obtained from the adventure ; 
and he asserted that a balloon containing 36,000 feet of 
gas could not carry two men as many hours as the voyage 
was likely to take. " I should be delighted," he said to 



Mr. Wright, " to make an ascent with you for any 
inland excursion, but for the voyage across the Channel 
I shall want every available pound of ballast, and must 
go alone "—a piece of characteristic humour, which Mr. 
Wright, himself a humorist, thoroughly appreciated. 
Mr. Wright's reasons for wishing to accompany Colonel 
Burnaby were three — first an affection for his balloon, 
similar to that of a captain for his ship ; secondly, a love 
of daring ; and thirdly, the belief that his practical experi- 
ence, which was much greater than Burnaby 's, would be 
more likely to make the voyage a success ; while Burnaby's 
opinion that the balloon would not carry the two men a 
sufficient number of hours, he did not share. However, 
nothing could induce Burnaby to modify his plans, 
and on March 17th he wrote to Mr. Wright as follows : 

Friday, March 17th, (1882), 

18, Charles Street. 
Dear Mr. Wright, 

I have received enclosed* from Dover, but would pre- 
fer Folkestone. As to the journey ; as I told you before, 
I must go alone. From Bedford I could let you accom- 
pany me, but not across the Channel. Wire back if you 
will be at Folkestone or Dover on Monday next with the 
balloon, as I can be there on Monday evening. 

Yours very truly, 

Fred Burnaby. 

Dover having been decided on, Mr. Wright at once des- 
patched his balloon, the Eclipse, to that town. Burnaby 
had counted on being able to ascend on March 22nd at 
sunrise, but, owing to the inability of the authorities 
at the gas works to oblige him, there occurred a delay of 
twenty-four hours, which was the more exasperating 
as the wind blew that morning straight on Calais. How- 
ever, as nothing further could be done, Burnaby and Mr. 
Wright, accompanied by Henry Storeyf — Radford's 

* No doubt a letter from the Dover Gasworks. 

t Storey joined the Royal Horse Guards, gth May, 1877, and he left in 
1898, after serving 23 years. For a time Burnaby was served by a German 
named Luie. 


successor — strolled about the town and visited the ceme- 
tery in order to see Radford's grave. 

By this time the newspapers had announced the 
proposed ascent, all England was expectant, and Burn- 
aby lived in hourly dread lest he should be ordered back 
to town by a telegram from the Commander-in-Chief. 
The manager of the Daily Telegraph wired that he had a 
correspondent* eager to accompany him ; but Burnaby, 
though grateful to that newspaper for the cordiality 
it had over and over again manifested towards him, 
could not bring himself to divide the glory. 

Mr. Wright did everything in his power to make the 
voyage a successful one. For example, on March 21st, 
in order to save valuable time, he laid out the silk on the 
ground, and having procured tarpaulins, placed them 
under and over the netting. " I had not thought of this," 
comments Burnaby, " and felt indeed fortunate that I 
had so experienced an aeronaut to inflate the balloon 
for me." 

" You will be careful in packing her up," said Mr. 
Wright, " if you come down safely ; and should she burst, 
remember to let go this cord — and he pointed to the neck- 
line — not that she is likely to burst, still I should like a 
little piece of paper, just to say you are responsible for 
the balloon — something to show, in case you should not 

With a witticism relative to the gruesome hint con- 
veyed in the request, Burnaby picked up a piece of paper, 
which turned out to be a billhead of the Dover Gas Light 
Company, and he wrote on it — 

March 23rd, 1882. 

I agree to be responsible to Mr. Wright for all damage 
or loss incurred by him through any accident happening 
to his balloon, in which I ascend to-day. 

Fred Burnaby, Royal Horse Guards. "f 

" I am afraid," said Burnaby jocosely to Mr. Wright, 

*No doubt, Mr. Bennet Burleigh. 

t This is now in the possession of the author. 


" you think a good deal more of the safety of your 
balloon than you do of me." 

" If, sir," replied Mr. Wright, " I had not the greatest 
confidence in your experience as an aeronaut, I would not 
trust you with it. I am granting to you what I refused to 
Colonel Brine." 

The wind howled all night, and Burnaby felt, as he 
listened, that there would be little chance of an ascent 
next day. However he rose at 4.30, to be greeted by 
Storey with the gratifying information, " The wind is in 
the right direction, sir ; all the weathercocks point to the 
north." Having pelted Mr. Wright's window with small 
stones, he hastened to the gasworks, noticing with gratifi- 
cation as he strode along that the pennon on the flag 
staff of the castle pointed straight to Boulogne. Mr. 
Wright promptly withdrew the tarpaulins, which were 
caked with ice ; and then, having removed his boots, 
he walked over the envelope to see whether it had 
sustained any damage. The balloon having begun to fill 
(and it was a handsome red aerostat striped with yellow) 
a considerable crowd had appeared- — all the influential 
people of Dover being present. The balloon having 
assumed its full pear shape, the moment for starting 
seemed to have arrived. But Mr. Wright, who wished 
her to go up as symmetrically as possible, pleaded for 
" Just one puff more." 

Seated in the car, with his elbows on the rim, dressed 
in a striped coat and a close skull cap, Burnaby, whose 
sole luggage consisted of a few sandwiches and a bottle of 
Apollinaris (for unlike Brine and Simmons he car- 
ried neither buoy nor cork-jacket), waited impatiently 
five minutes longer. 

At last Mr. Wright was satisfied. " And now, good 
luck to you," he said, " but — once more — in case of 
accident, don't forget the neckline." 

The start was not a good one, and it was only by throw- 
ing over a bag of ballast just in time that Burnaby was 
able to clear the gasworks chimney. The heat presently 

(faint dashes), 4th March, 1882. 


(heavy dashes), 23rd March, 1882. 


became oppressive ; and in order to protect his nape from 
the sun, he made a puggaree of his handkerchief. Below 
him moved a Dover and Calais boat. " Still as possible," 
he says, " it glided above the waves ; and, a bad sailor, 
I could not help congratulating myself that I was not 
experiencing that up-and-down and rocking movement 
so extremely disagreeable in the Channel." Flashes of 
light, which came irregularly from Dover castle, showed 
him that the military there were signalling with a 
heliograph, and he regretted his ignorance of the code. 
By 11.15 England had entirely disappeared and Boulogne 
came in view, but at the same time the sky became over- 
cast, causing the gas in the balloon to condense, with the 
result of a rapid descent. The warning was conveyed 
to Burnaby by a cracking sensation in his ears, and in tw T o 
minutes he dropped a third of a mile. The rapidity of 
the descent was also proved by the fact that some scraps 
of paper which he threw out, had the appearance of 
flying up instead of down, and presently he found himself 
disagreeably close to the water. He flung over a bag of 
ballast, but without effect, and it was not until three 
more bags had followed it, that he began to rise. A still 
more serious condition of things was the fact that the 
balloon, which had so far drifted straight from Dover, 
to Boulogne, now moved almost at right angles to that 
line and down mid-channel. 

A dead calm followed. Below on the water he could 
see the balloon's shadow. The sea gulls cried round him. 
" Unless there is a change," he soliloquised, " I shall soon 
be food for the fishes." Presently two smacks came 
within sight, and their crews made signs for him to de- 
scend. But his only reply was to drop a Times newspaper 
upon them. " I shall be able to remain up more than 
three hours," said he to himself ; and then, being sharp 
set, he took out a sandwich— and, with his lunch in one 
hand and a barometer in the other, he waited for a change 
of wind. A ripple in the waves having led him to believe 
that there was a current of air below, he let out some gas — 


only to discover that the ripple had been caused, not by 
the wind, but by a shoal of fishes. He was now within 
500 feet of the water, and the crews of the smacks again 
shouted to him ; but although becalmed in mid-channel 
within five hours of darkness and in a balloon which could 
not remain in the air more than three hours, he still re- 
fused the assistance of the friendly fellows. He was 
determined, if possible, to succeed where Brine, Simmons 
and so many others had failed. Nevertheless, at no 
great distance from the spot over which he hung, had 
perished only a few weeks previously the ill-fated Mr. 
Powell ; and he knew that should the calm continue, 
or should a wind sweep down the channel instead of 
across it, his fate would be the same. The temptation to 
give in had been severe. Twenty times he said to himself, 
" How easy it would be to descend. I need not even 
get a wetting." But he successfully combated his 

The fishermen waited about a quarter of an hour, 
and then, as he showed no signs of descending, they 
waved their hands and moved away. He still possessed 
five bags of ballast, and besides these, there was, of course 
the car, which he intended as a last resource, (after seat- 
ing himself on the hoop of the balloon) to cut away. 
Then, despite the danger from the escaping gas, and with 
the naughty schoolboy sort of feeling, that he was too 
far from England for Mr. Wright to know, he lighted a 
cigar. We have already mentioned his theory in respect 
to varying currents of air at varying heights ; and 
he now resolved to put his theory to the test. So he flung 
over two of the bags of ballast. Straightway the balloon 
rose seven thousand odd feet, still there was no move- 
ment forwards. Only three bags remained — two small 
ones and a big one filled with stones. He threw out the 
small bags, and presently attained an attitude of 10,000 
feet, where he passed, as he had anticipated, into a 
stream of air driving in a southerly direction. His 
theory had proved correct, and in a few minutes he was 


sailing cheerily over Dieppe, which he sketched in his 
pocket book. 

All danger past, he grew sportive, and on passing 
over a man ploughing with two oxen and a horse, he 
dropped a little fine sand. The man started, evidently 
at a loss to know whence the dust had fallen. Presently 
he looked straight above him, and then he threw himself 
on his back, gazing into the clouds, with his hands 
stretched out in astonishment and his legs in the air. 
The descent was made in a masterly manner, and nothing 
could exceeed the kindness and courtesy of the French 
peasants, who flocked from all sides to Burnaby's assist- 

In the meantime people at home had become extremely 
anxious on his account. The editors of newspapers 
waited impatiently for telegrams, and when the Rev. 
Evelyn Burnaby called at the office of the Morning Post 
early in the morning, he found the editor, Sir A. Borthwick 
(now Lord Glenesk) with two articles in front of him — 
one to be used in case of Burnaby's success, the other in 
case of his death. At his first opportunity Burnaby des- 
patched to Mr. Wright a telegram that was not wanting 
in humour — a message of the kind that would have been 
acceptable to Sancho Panza's wife, who always wanted 
to know first of all whether the ass was safe. It ran 
" Your balloon uninjured. Wind changed mid-channel. 
Afterwards for a time becalmed over sea. Eventually 
found southerly current at high altitude. Descended 
Chateau de Montigny, Envermeu, Normandy. Voyage 
difficult, but very amusing." 

No telegram was sent to anyone else. Nevertheless 
on the same afternoon two telegrams — purporting to have 
been received, one from Colonel Burnaby and one from 
a friend of his — reached the Press. Mr. Wright, who was 
naturally indignant that the contents of a private tele- 
gram to him should have been divulged to a third person, 
and not only so, but before he himself had seen it, com- 
plained to the Secretary of the Submarine Telegraph 


Company ; and Colonel Burnaby was also annoyed. 
The excuse made by the Company was that they had 
complied with a request which had been made to them 
for the news because the question of the Colonel's safety 
was one of public interest. 

Other letters followed, and not only was the whole of 
the correspondence sent to the Press, but the matter was 
brought before Parliament. The Postmaster General, 
though he expressed his opinion that the contents of the 
telegram referred to ought not to have been divulged, 
observed that the Post Office had no power in the matter, 
as the various Telegraph Acts, which ensured the secrecy 
of British inland telegrams, did not apply to telegrams 
transmitted through foreign companies. As, however, 
the desire of Colonel Burnaby and Mr. Wright was merely 
to serve the public by drawing general attention to a 
scandalous state of affairs, they attained their end. 

Next morning as Evelyn Burnaby was walking down 
St. James's Street he met his brother, heavity wrapped up 
as usual, but looking as blithe as a lark— the sense that 
he had once more achieved something really difficult 
having imparted fresh life to him ; but while they break- 
fasted together he said, " I have had the nearest squeak, 
Evelyn, I ever had." 

It was Burnaby's boast that he never punned, but that 
evening, when he was one of the guests at a dinner given 
by the Fishmongers' Company in their hall, near London 
Bridge, he fell sadly. 

" You ought not to be here," observed another guest, 
" Your place is with the fowls of the air, not with the 
fish of the sea." 

" I don't mind," he replied, shamelessly, " where they 
put me, as long as they don't make game of me." 

It had been arranged that Mr. Wright should call at 
18, Charles Street the next day — Saturday — in order to 
look over the account of the voyage which Burnaby had 
written for publication by Messrs. Sampson Low & Co. 

On the way there Mr. Wright met Mr. Bennet Burleigh, 







From The Dart, 31st March, 1S82. 

He is trying to sail from Birmingham to Parliament. The Rev. R. W. Dale 
(with full beard), Mr. F. Schnadhorst, and Mr. Joseph Chamberlain are blowing 
him back. Mr. Schnadhorst was the Liberal Agent He was largely instru- 
mental in introducing the Caucus System. 

Drawn by E. C. Mountfort. 


subsequently the famous war correspondent of the 
Daily Telegraph, but then a young man just entering on 
his career. 

Mr. Burleigh, who knew Mr. Wright very well, asked 
where he was going. 

" To call on Colonel Burnaby," was the reply. 

" Well," said Mr. Burleigh, " I should be very glad to 
see him, too. Indeed that's what I came here for. Will 
you introduce me ? " 

So they entered the house together, and Mr. Wright was 
conducted up to Burnaby's study. 

" I have a friend downstairs," said Mr. Wright, " do 
you mind seeing him too ? " 

On learning who the friend was, Burnaby said, " Not 
now. I've promised my publisher that I will not give 
information to anyone : but I'll see him after you and I 
have had our little talk." 

Business done, Mr. Wright introduced Mr. Burleigh, 
and on the Monday morning (March 27th), though Burn- 
aby told Mr. Burleigh nothing whatever about his journey, 
a detailed and accurate account of it appeared in the 
columns of The Daily Telegraph. How Mr. Burleigh 
obtained the information, we prefer not to say, except 
that certainly Mr. Wright did not give it him. The 
feat, was, however, but one of the many accomplished 
by a smart and gifted journalist, who subsequently did 
far greater things. Mr. Burleigh some time later met 
Burnaby at the house of Mr. Levi Lawson, now Lord 
Burnham, and as a result of this meeting, there ensued 
between them a warm friendship, which was cemented 
by their fellow interest in ballooning and other sub- 

On the Saturday night Burnaby left London for Wind- 
sor where, the report of his exploit having preceded him, 
he received the heartiest of welcomes from his brother 
officers and the men. 

On the Sunday the Guards, as usual, attended service 
at the Garrison Church, Windsor. Canon Robins occupied 


the pulpit, and in the course of a most eloquent ser- 
mon, he roguishly remarked, with a side glance at the 
officers' pew, where Colonel Burnaby was conspicuous, 
*' Ah, my friends, how often in the course of our weary 
pilgrimage we cast our eyes longingly at the far distant 
shore, and long for a favouring breeze to spring up and 
carry us to the haven whither we would be." 

A little later, when Burnaby was on duty at Windsor 
Castle, the Duke of Cambridge reprimanded him for 
quitting England without obtaining leave of absence 
from headquarters ; but he added nothing more terrible 
than the remark that " valuable lives ought not to be 
risked in such freaks." 

Of course there was endless chaff at Burnaby's expense, 
although nobody could have enjoyed that chaff quite so 
much as the object of it. His political enemies gloated 
over the supposition that his luck in being able to accom- 
plish his end was chequered by the humiliation he had to 
endure at the instance of the War Office. They called 
him Captain Cockle Apollinaris Burnaby, because he had 
paid a tribute to Cockle's Pills in his Ride to Khiva, 
and had taken a bottle of Apollinaris with him in the 
balloon, and they appended to the popular song " Up 
in a Balloon Boys," the lines : 
But Burnaby, oh Burnaby, 

When you go again ; 
You'd better take your journey by 
A steamboat and a train. 
Even the dead poets could not leave him alone, for accord- 
ing to Judy, Dr. Watts was inspired to write of him : 
How doth the lengthy Burnabee 

Improve his afternoon, 
By riding gaily o'er the sea 
Adrift in a balloon. 
In Punch,* Burnaby's face resolved itself into the bag 
of a balloon, carrying a car freighted with Apollinaris 
water and Cockle's pills, while the letterpress likened him 

* ist April, 1882. 


to Horatius Cockles, and insisted that he ought to be 
member for Airshire. 

A few days previous the elephant Jumbo had been 
despatched, not without maudlin English sighs, to Amer- 
ica ; and the Daily Neivs, in a good humoured article, 
linked the events as follows : " Jumbo is afloat on the 
water, and Colonel Burnaby is, or was, afloat in the 
air. Colonel Burnaby is himself a sort of human and 

attractive Jumbo Colonel Burnaby has many 

gallant and sturdy characteristics. He has done bold 
things. He has made daring ventures, and he has accom- 
plished much success. He is a man of one side of whose 
character at least England has reason to be proud. 

Indeed, if he would keep out of politics he 

might be viewed by his countrymen with unmingled 

Burnaby's account of his journey appeared on April 
5th, 1882, with the title of A Ride Across the Channel ; 
and the first copy that came to his hand he sent to Mr. 
Wright, with the following words in autograph : 

" To Mr. Wright, the celebrated aeronaut, without 
whose valuable services in filling the balloon I should not 
have been able to accomplish my ride across the channel. 

Fred Burnaby, April 5th, 1882. 

18, Charles Street, Grosvenor Square. 

Burnaby next proposed to make an ascent with Mr. 

Wright from Bedford on the approaching Whit-Monday 

(June 5th) but, as the following letter will „ m , „ 

\ ' . , , L i • 50— The Proposed 

show, he was not able to carry out his m- Ascent from 

tention. B J dfo f d ' ?«£?" 

Monday, 1882. 

18, Charles Street, Grosvenor Square, 

May 10th, '82. 
Dear Mr. Wright, 

Alas, it has been officially intimated to me that the 
Commander-in-Chief does not approve of my ascending 
in balloon. Hence to my regret, I shall be unable to 
keep my promise to you as long as I am on full pay. 

When my term of full pay service has expired, I will 

L 2 


redeem ray promise, and will make several ascents with 

Yours very sincerely, 

Fred Burnaby. 
Although Burnaby was obliged to abandon his idea 
of accompanying Mr. Wright— and, a native of Bedford, 
it was a keen disappointment to him— he expressed the 
hope of being able to witness the ascent ; but apparently 
he received another communication from headquarters, 
for on May 13th, he wrote as follows : 

18, Charles Street, 

Grosvenor Square, 

May 13th, '82. 
Dear Mr. Wright, 

I much regret that I have a previous engagement for 
Whit-Monday, which will absolutely prevent my being 
present at Bedford on that day, much as I should have 
liked to attend. 

Wishing you success, and regretting that I shall be 
unable to accompany you in the air. 

Believe me, 

Yours very truly, 

Fred Burnaby. 
Pray remember me to my old Bedford friends and old 
schoolfellows who may witness your ascent. 

Mr. Wright conveyed his balloon to Bedford, and in the 
presence of an enormous crowd, which behaved riotously 
and broke into the ring, he attended to the preliminaries ; 
but, being billed to ascend next day at Dudley, instead 
of entering the car himself he sent up a substitute — his 
assistant, Mr. Lewis Hammett, who was accompanied 
by the Rev. William Beckett, of Bedford, and Mr. Freder- 
ick Smith, of Olney. 

Although thwarted in his plans, Burnaby's interest 
in aeronautics suffered no diminution ; and a little later 
he wrote for the Fortnightly Review,* an article containing 
his views on " The Possibilities of Ballooning." After 

* It appeared in May, 1884. 


giving a succinct account of the history of the pear- 
shaped aerostat from 21st November, 1773, when 
De Roziers and the Marquis d'Arlandes made their 
memorable ascent down to the time of Coxwell and 
Wright, not forgetting the achievements of Charles,* 
Lunardi,f and Green— he points out the great value 
of captive balloons in time of war, and expresses his satis- 
tion that owing to the exertions of Captain Templer 
and Major Elsdale, the Woolwich authorities had at last 
determined to establish a balloon corps. 

In reference to the oft-repeated assertion that it would 
be possible to reach the North Pole in a balloon, he men- 
tioned that he had received numerous letters from 
people who declared that they could guide an aerostat. 
" I should be very glad," he observes, "to make the 
gentlemen referred to a present of £100, if they will 
select two places, twenty miles apart, go in a free aerostat 
from one spot to the other, and return without anchoring 
the balloon or recharging it with gas." 

" What we require," he continues, "is a machine 
which, itself heavier than the atmosphere, will be able 
to strike a blow on the air in excess of its own weight. 
Machinery worked by steam is much too heavy for this 
purpose ; electricity some day, perhaps, will be available. 
Inventors should never forget that a bird is heavier 
than the air, and that the bird flies because its strength 
enables it to overcome the difference between its weight 
and that of the atmosphere it displaces. To put the case 
in a nutshell, aerial navigation is a mere question of 
lightness and force." 

So far as the solution of the problem — how to navigate 
the air — is concerned, the ordinary pear-shaped balloon 
had, in Burnaby's opinion, done more harm than good, 
and he looked for the barrel, tube or cigar-shaped aero- 
stat to be propelled by machinery. Such were the views 

* Charles ascended in a silk aerostat inflated with hydrogen, ist Dec, 

t The first ascent made in England was by Lunardi in Sept., 1784. 


of one who knew more about ballooning, and did more 
for ballooning, than any other man of his day,* but in 
private conversation he expressed himself still more 
strongly. He foresaw, indeed, the achievements of the 
modern airship. 

* Mr. Wright laid claim to being a practical man, and a practical man 


5th june 1882 december 1883. 

Travels in Spain and Tunis ; Burning Speeches. 

In 1882, when the troubles in the Soudan, fruit of the 

Mahdi's activity, commenced, Burnaby fully expected 

to be put on active service ; consequently 

5 with MrfSenri when the command of the detachment of 

Deutsch, the Blues ordered out was given to 

Mar., 1883. Lieutenant _c lonel Hume, he was deeply 
disappointed. Nor did a difference which he had with 
General Owen Williams about this time tend to soothe 
his mind. General Williams, exasperated on account 
of certain military opinions expressed by Burnaby, 
had commenced proceedings against him; but, as the 
result of a conference between the friends of the litigants, 
the dispute was settled, each party agreeing to pay his 
own costs. 

Burnaby spent the summer of 1882 partly in London 
and partly at Somerby Hall ; and on October 20th he 
entertained the Prince and Princess of Wales and other 
persons of distinction to welcome back to their old quar- 
ters Lieutenant-Colonel Hume and his men. He was 
also a guest at a banquet given in the Holborn Town 
Hall, at which some five hundred Blues were present, 
and he responded to the toast of " The Officers of the 
Horse Guards," making a rousing speech chiefly by way 
of tribute to the men who had " charged at Kassassin." 
During the early part of 1883 he was confined to his house 
by illness, and on his recovery he paid a visit to Spain, 
in the company of his friend, the late Mr. Henri Deutsch. 
While at Madrid they lunched with the King and Queen 



(Alphonso XII. and Christina) ; and the letter home 
written just after the incident, has been preserved. " We 
arrived here," it runs, " the day before yesterday, having 
travelled through from Paris in thirty-eight hours. The 
same day we arrived we received a letter from Count 
S , the Chamberlain of the King, appointing the follow- 
ing day at six p.m. for an audience of his Majesty. We 
went there at that hour in evening dress, and were the first 
to be shown into the Sovereign's presence. He was very 
amiable, and introduced me to the Queen, who speaks 
English well, and showed me his child, a little girl of about 
two years old. He then said, ' I am afraid I cannot keep 
the other people waiting. Come and lunch with us to- 
morrow at 12.30. Only the family, you know. I want so 
much to have a long talk with you.' " Of course we accep- 
ted. After dinner that evening we went to Senor C 's 

box at the opera. The house was full of all the beauty of 
Madrid, and the King and Queen were in the Ptoyal box, 
and nodded several times to us during the opera. I met 
many old friends in the house, and enjoyed myself very 
much. To-day we went to the Palace. I sat on the 
left-hand of the Queen, who was very agreeable. Then 
there was a Spanish General, whom I had known some 
twelve years ago, and in addition the English governesses, 
or companions, of the Princesses. Nothing could exceed 
the kindness of the family. The King reminded me 
of his visits to me when he was in exile in London, 
and of how he had then partaken of my hospitality. 
After luncheon the King lit a cigar and we smoked, the 
ladies talking to us all the while. He is a young man 
of about twenty-five years of age, dark and good-looking, 
tall, with large eyes, and a very intelligent face." 

On taking leave of their Majesties, Burnaby presented 
the Queen with a copy of a work written by Mrs. Burnaby 
— The High Alps in Winter — and by the end of the 
month he was back again in England. 

In May he took part in a political gathering at Birming- 
ham, and at the banquet that followed he replied to the 


toast of the " Two Houses of Parliament." He glorified 
the House of Lords, which in years gone by had " fought 
for the liberties of the people of England against tyran- 
nical sovereigns," and he deplored the neglect of business 
in the House of Commons, which he attributed to " the 
intense verbosity of Mr. Gladstone and his slavish follow- 
ing." At a luncheon served in the Masonic Hall,* he was 
greeted with an ovation — " the entire company standing 
and cheering him lustily " ; and he spoke at a public 
meeting held afterwards in the Town Hall, his speech 
being eulogistic of Lord Salisbury and Mr. Gibson (the 
guests of the occasion), and of the Conservative policy, 
and condemnatory of Mr. Gladstone, Mr. Bright, and 
their " Pharisaic following." 

The exertions made at these and other meetings told, 
however, on his health ; and bronchitis and inflammation 
of the lungs brought him so low that Mrs. Burnaby was 
sent for from Switzerland in order to nurse him. On his 
recovery they planned a joint tour in Spain, but Mrs. 
Burnaby's health again breaking down, the idea was 
abandoned ; and she, having, by medical advice, returned 
to Switzerland, Burnaby, accompanied only by his 
servant Storey, sailed for Gibraltar,! where he was wel- 
comed by Sir John Adie, the governor, who " took him 
for a ghost." He had scarcely landed when news came 
of the death of General Burnaby, and a number of news- 
paper men having mistaken one cousin for the other, 
wrote some flattering obituary notices, which were read 
with both surprise and relish by the " corpse." From 
Gibraltar, Burnaby and his servant took steamer to Cadiz, 
and thence he travelled bv train to his favourite Seville, 
where he renewed acquaintance with old friends and old 
scenes. At his next stopping place, Huelva, he was 
present at the dinner given on the occasion of the opening 
of the newly finished English Hotel, " The Colon "— 
his name being the first in the visitors' book. From 

♦March 29th. 

f On 30th May, 1883. 


Huelva he and Storey proceeded, via Madrid, to Alhama 
de Aragon, where he took the vapour baths, and ascended 
a mountain on foot, in order to see whether his heart 
was really affected, as the doctors had averred. 

Shortly after his return to England, he " conceived 
the kindly notion " of giving a farewell dinner on the 
occasion of the departure of his friend, Mr. 
52— Concerning Henry Lucy, for Japan, and Mr. (now Sir) 
Absalom.* Francis Burnand was one of the guests. 
" We were a considerable party," says 
Sir Francis, " for a merely private dinner. My im- 
pression is that there were not fewer than twenty present, 
and that for this special occasion Fred Burnaby had 
engaged a large room upstairs at the Junior Carlton, 
which was one of his clubs. Even at this distance of 
time, just sixteen years, I recall the exceptionally social 
character of that evening, and the incident I am going to 
relate stands out vividly in my memory. 

In the course of conversation, over the coffee and cigars, 
I was describing how, when mounted on a strapping big 
hunter, over whose movements I had hardly any control, 
I was carried through an orchard and had to extend my- 
self at full length along the neck of the beast in order 
to avoid being caught up and held in the branches, as 
Absalom was, by the hair of his head — ' Thank good- 
ness,' I added, ' there was no ill-conditioned Joab handy 
with his spear to be reckoned with.' " 

" It's very curious," observed Burnaby smiling, "how 
everybody makes that mistake about Absalom. Absalom 
was never caught by his hair." 

" My dear fellow," I remonstrated. 

" Oh yes, I know," said Burnaby, quietly, " if you ask 
everyone here, I should be much astonished if the whole 
lot were not in favour of your version of the story and 
dead against mine." 

'' What is your's ? " asked one of the guests, for 
several were becoming interested in the discussion. 

* Written specially for this book by Sir Francis Burnand. 


" Mine is simply as it is given in the Old Testament," 
was Burnaby's answer. 

" Well," asked another of the company, " and does 
not that record how Absalom was caught up and en- 
tangled by the hair of his head in the branch of a tree ? " 

" Not a bit of it ? " answered Burnaby, with his 
pleasant yet always somewhat Mephistophelian smile.* 

Hereupon many joined in. Gradually all at table 
had a word to say on the subject, in corroboration of my 
view of it. Some sporting men of the company were 
ready to wager heavy bets. I remember the guest of the 
evening, H. W. Lucy, being in favour of the " caught 
by the hair " version, though somewhat shaken by his 
recollection of Burnaby's scholarly knowledge of the Old 

Then Burnaby reduced the matter to pro and contra. 
" I'll back myself for a fiver with anybody," he said, 
" but I don't like doing it as I know that my version is 
the correct one." 

The majority took his bet. I fancy that Henry Lucy 
and I were the only men, except Henri Deutsch, out 
of it. 

How to settle it ? 

" There's sure to be a Bible in the library," observed 
a member of the club. 

Burnaby rang. The butler expecting orders for some 
particular wine, or for some special beverage (punch per- 
haps) appeared. 

Burnaby asked him, " Is there a Bible here ? ' 

Never was steward of club more taken aback. Had 
he heard correctly ? 

" A Bible ? " he repeated, doubtful of his having heard 
aright. Bucellus, Burgundy, Brandy, any liquor be- 
ginning with " B " ! But— Bible ! ! ! 

" Yes," repeated Burnaby, plucking up, for even he 
had been afraid of his own question. ' Is there a Bible 
in the library ? " 

* See the Vanity Fair cartoon in this volume. 



The butler hesitated. " I don't think, sir — at least 
I'm not sure," he began. Then he made a suggestion. 

" If you want to look at a Bible sir," said the butler — 
the host nodded affirmatively — " well, sir, if you don't 
mind I can bring you one up — from below," — here there 
was an audible smile — " I mean, sir, from the servants' 

" Thank you very much," said Burnaby. " Let us 
have it as quickly as you can. Thanks." 

The butler retired. We were all much interested. He 
had given us a text for conversation. Presently he re- 
appeared with the Bible ; a big family Bible. He pre- 
sented it to Burnaby ; then withdrew, wondering. 

Burnaby opened the book. 

" The very Bible we want," he exclaimed. "It is one 
of the old ones, with pictures." 

We wanted to know why he was so pleased about the 

" Because," he replied, " the illustration will show 
you how your mistake originated, and the text will prove 
my case. Now," he continued, as he carefully opened the 
book and gradually arrived at the chapter, " you all 
say that Absalom was caught by his hair in a branch of a 
tree, and so was suspended, eh ? " 

" Yes," was the answer unanimously. 

" And I said," continued Burnaby, " that Absalom 
was caught not by his hair at all, but in a forked branch of 
the tree, and I will add that your mistake arose from the 
illustration which so represents him." 

" But," I interrupted, " the weight of his hair which 
caught in the tree, and was subsequently cut off, is 

" Quite right," our host replied, " but that occurs 
in a verse later on in the same chapter." 

By this time he had found the place, likewise the illus- 
tration — II. Samuel xviii., 9 : And Absalom rode wpon a 
mule, and the mule went under the thick boughs of a great 
oak, and his head caught hold of the oak, and he was taken 


up between the heaven and the earth ; and the mule that was 
under him went away. 

" Nothing about his being caught by the hair ?" 
asked Lucy. 

" No," replied Burnaby, " I have given you the verse 
just as it is. I will pass the book and you can judge for 
yourself. But first I will read you the marginal note. 
It says : Some suppose that Absalom was caught by the 
hair ; but it seems more probable that his head and neck were 
caught in the forks of a strong bough, as he was nearly dead 
when Joab found him. 

" Then at verse 14," continued Burnaby, " Joab finds 
him and thrusts three darts through his heart while he was 
yet alive.'''' 

The Bible was passed round, and the passage closely 

" And," said Burnaby, " look at the picture." 

We did so. Yes, that had been the origin of our im- 
pression. It represented Absalom hanging by his hair, 
which had become coiled about the huge branch of a 

" But," observed one of the losers, " where is the refer- 
ence to the weight of Absalom's hair ? That ought to be 
in the same chapter ? " 

" No," said Burnaby, " I was wrong in my recollec- 
tion of its proper place in the text. Now I remember. 
I think it is to be found in a rather earlier chapter." 

The Bible was handed back to our host, who, within 
another minute, had put his finger on the quotation re- 
quired. It was found in chapter xiv. of II. Samuel, v. 25 : 

there was none to be so much praised as Absalom 

for his beauty. 

V. 26 : And when he polled his head .... because the 
hair was heavy on him, therefore he polled it .... he 
weighed the hair of his head at two hundred shekels after the 
king's weight. 

Everyone was at once ready to pay up, but Burnaby 


refused their tenders. " My dear chaps," he explained, 
" I was betting on an absolute certainty." 

On August 22nd Burnaby was present at the Crystal 
Palace on the occasion of the Foresters' Fete, and wit- 
53— Speeches at nessed the ascent of Mr. Wright's balloon 

Birmingham j<] ie Gem and a new aerostat of great 

and . °. 

Wednesbury, capacity which had not at that time received 
Oct. 1883. a name . an( j by October he had so far 

recovered his health as to be able to take part again at 
political gatherings, his first appearance being at a Bir- 
mingham meeting presided over by Earl Percy. 

After thanking his audience for the enthusiastic recep- 
tion accorded to him, and acknowledging the sympathy 
expressed both by them and his Radical opponents dur- 
ing his illness, he commenced his speech by a slashing 
attack on Mr. Chamberlain, who had charged the land- 
lord class with being one that toiled not and that did not 
spin. He said that he had been making an enquiry 
as to the incomes of the seven leading members of the 
late Conservative ministry and of the seven leading 
members of the Liberal ministry ; with the result of 
discovering that the seven Conservatives received in all 
£325,000 a year, and the seven Liberals £400,000 a year, a 
fact which he bade his opponents ponder. He then 
compared the position which England occupied among 
the nations in Lord Beaconsfield's time with that under 
his Radical successors ; and he pointed to one part of the 
world after another in order to illustrate his charge 
against the weakness of Mr. Gladstone's foreign policy. 

The home policy of his opponents pleased him no 
better. " The Radicals," he said, " throw out a bait to 
the have-nots to enrich themselves at the expense of 
those who have. This bait, if swallowed by the working 
classes, would ruin them. Were capital taken from our 
shores, factories would be taken from our shores, and, 
like the leaders and demagogues of the first French 
revolution, those men who had taught their fellow coun- 
trymen to spoil, would, after sowing the wind, reap the 


whirlwind, and be the next victims of their dissatisfied 
and enraged dupes." 

Towards the end of the year, Burnaby, who had just 
lost his mother, removed from Charles Street and took 
up his residence at 36, Beaufort Gardens, which had been 
Mrs. Burnaby's home subsequent to the death of her hus- 
band and here, when in England, he spent the rest of 
his life. 

By the time of his removal, Burnaby's oratorical 
exertions and the vitiated atmosphere of crowded halls 
had once more told upon his health, and he 
again hurried off to his old sanatorium, — * yisit to 

Seville. After paying a visit to the Tinto Sp ™ffo 0ct ' 

Copper Mines, in which he had shares, 
and exploring the Solomon country* generally, he crossed 
to Algiers, where he inspected some regiments of French 
troops, which displeased him because " there was neither 
order nor discipline among them " ; and from Algiers he 
wandered into Tunis, in order to visit the ruins of ancient 
Carthage and the scenes of Flaubert's Salammbo. 

His first appearance before the public on his return 
was at Bristol, f where he spoke on the subjects of Ireland 
and India. In the course of his speech — 55— Burning 
one of the most vigorous he ever delivered Speec ^ a* 
— he said, " We hold India by the sword ; where, Nov. and 
do not let us mince words — we hold Ireland Dec * 1883, 
in a similar manner, and the sooner this fact is recognised 
by the two great parties in the State, the less chance there 
will be of having to engage in a civil war. As was said 
by a speaker at an Orange meeting in Ireland a few days 
since, ' You say that our ancestors took your land away 
from you two hundred years ago ; anyhow we have got 
the land and we mean to stick to it.' England holds Ire- 
land and holds India, and judging from what I know of 

♦The Romans called it Tartesia. Near the Rio Tinto are Cerro Salomon 
Peak of Soloman) and the town of Salamea la Reale (Royal Solomon). 
Solomon is supposed to have derived part of his wealth from the district. 

fi3th Nov. 1883. 


the tenacity of my fellow countrymen, they will not be 
prepared to surrender these possessions through the 
sentimental arguments of Mr. Gladstone, whose father 
made £60,000 out of slavery, none of which has been re- 
turned as ' conscience money.' 

Politicians, indeed, did not fight with gloved hands 
in those days. Personalities were rife ; and when Bur- 
naby was thus handling Gladstone's name, there was 
rankling in his breast the remark of a Radical politician, 
who declared that the late Lord Beaconsfield* never 
spoke the truth except by mistake. 

Burnaby's speech was received everywhere by his party 
with commendation, and he was called for in all direc- 
tions. At Preston, where he addressed three thousand 
persons — the staple of his speech was a denunciation of 
the Ilbert Bill, which would allow Englishmen to be tried 
by Hindoos. 

' In times back," he said, " the Anglo-Saxon race 
was actuated by the grandest sentiment that can influ- 
ence a people — by patriotism — the abnegation of self 
for the country's cause — the patriotism which stimulated 
Nelson, Wellington, and the heroes of Balaclava. Things 
have changed of late. A lover of his country is called a 
Jingo ; the sentimentalist who helps to ruin it is termed 
a grand old man. Legislators have been found un- 
mindful of the terrible lessons taught us by the Indian 
mutiny. They have been prepared to hand over English 
men and women to the tender mercies of a race alien 
to us in religion, alien to us in customs ; to men who have 
no idea of the sanctity of an oath, to whom perjury 
is a convenient method of settling family litigation. Do 
not imagine that by saying this I am wishing to insult the 
Indian subjects of the Queen — but their ways are not our 
ways ; indeed, if they had been, an English Company 
would never have conquered the 240,000,000 inhabitants 
who people Hindostan." 

After referring to the immorality of the Hindoo 

* Lord Beaconsfield died 19th April 1881. 


religion, Burnaby continued " The Ilbert Bill proposes 
to enable a native of India, provided he has the neces- 
sary qualifications, to try British subjects, perhaps in 
the most distant places of Hindostan, where there is no 
Press, no public opinion, and where an English woman's 
honour may be at the mercy of a sensual polygamist." 

He ridiculed the Radical argument that one man is as 
good as another. " Is the criminal," he asked, " as good 
as the honest and industrious working man ? Never 
forget that the Anglo-Saxon race is a dominant race, 
a race dominant throughout the world. It has annexed 
vast territories ; and while giving to the natives of India 
the benefits of civilisation and Christianity (which they 
do not appreciate), Englishmen have taken very good 
care to enrich themselves. Lord Stair, when told by a 
French diplomatist that if he (the Frenchman) were not 
a Frenchman he would like to be an Englishman, re- 
plied, ' If I were not an Englishman, why, then, I should 
like to be one.' 

" Have you forgotten the Black Hole of Calcutta ? 
A thrill of horror ran through England when the news of 
that dreadful tragedy became public. Have you for- 
gotten the Indian Mutiny? Should the Ilbert Bill, 
even in its present emasculated form, become law, 
it will not be long before still direr history will be made. 
The Radicals have remarked that India is a Free Trade 
country. Why is this so ? Because British bayonets 
rule it, not because of any initiative on the part of the 
native population. Withdraw English troops to-morrow, 
and heavy duties would at once be placed on Lancashire 
goods. Are Englishmen," he enquired, " going to allow 
their own flesh and blood who have settled in India 
to be tried unjustly, sentenced, and finally expelled, 
to suit the cant and sentimentality of a set of hobby- 
ridden legislators ? " 

On December 6th, Burnaby addressed a huge meeting 
at St. George's Hall, Bradford, where his subject was the 
Egyptian policy of the Government. " It will be of no 


use," he said, " to send Egyptian soldiers against the 
Mahdi. Send English officers and English troops, and 
then there will be no fear as to the result." Unfortunate- 
ly the Government did not take his advice. 


december 1883 10th january 1884. 

The Founding of the Primrose League. 

Although Burnaby had been defeated at Birmingham, 
the Conservative party, as we have already intimated, 
derived great benefit from the contest — 
a contest which, for one thing, was the 
56— The Prim- means of bringing about that important 
rose League, event in the history of modern Conservatism 
— the founding of the Primrose League. 
Owing to the enormous expense which this election had 
entailed, a number of the younger and more militant 
Conservatives were led to ask themselves whether some 
organization could not be formed with a view to obtaining 
voluntary workers and to assisting the party in other 
ways ; and the matter was earnestly discussed one Sun- 
day at a gathering held at Lady Dorothy NevilPs London 
house, amongst those present being Lord Randolph 
Churchill, Sir Henry Drummond Wolfe, and Sir Algernon 
Borthwick (now Lord Glenesk). Lord Randolph's idea 
was the formation of a secret society, " with officers and 
organization on the lines of the Buffaloes," and the 
scheme which he drew up seemed to find favour. Mr. 
J. B. Stone and Colonel Burnaby, however, pointed out 
serious defects in it ; and on 26th November, 1883, the 
former wrote to Lord Randolph as follows : 

November 26th, 1883. 
Dear Lord Randolph, 

I have given much consideration to the proposal 
to found a Primrose League. I am now more firmly con- 
vinced than ever that it would be a worthless effort to 
try to found a Patriotic Secret Society, having merely a 

(209) M 2 


general programme of principles without embracing 
a positive line of action. I believe, however, the change 
into a Tory Patriotic League (as resolved) may, with a 
very carefully prepared scheme, be made of enormous use 
to the Conservative party, and a most valuable weapon 
in the hands of a young party. It cannot be a wholly 
Secret Society inasmuch as no penalty could be used suffi- 
ciently strong to maintain secrecy. The first excluded 
or discontented member would make public the whole 
programme and proceedings. The severest penalty 
which could be enforced would be expulsion or some 
trifling social " Ban," and therefore I think it would be 
wise to abandon at once the idea of the scheme being 
wholly secret, and substitute the proposal to frame a rule 
that all Council or other meetings should be private, 
and no proceeding reported to the Press. At the same 
time it might be arranged to hold public meetings, 
and to take other public action under the auspices or 
direction of the League, but all such proceedings if 
originating in the smaller councils, should be under 
the superior control of a higher Court. 

The " declaration " subscribed to by joining members 
should be something more than the approval of the 
principles of the League ; it should include an undertak- 
ing to promote its objects on all seasonable occasions, 
publicly and privately, to give voluntary aid at the time 
of elections, and particularly to promise to vote without 
canvassing for those candidates supporting the principles 
set forth by the League. Rules should be framed to 
provide for the election of members, for expulsion, etc., 
and also for the formation of higher, middle, and lower 
councils, appointment of officers, their designation, and 
so forth. Further, the question of funds must be con- 
sidered. I would suggest that payment should not of 
necessity be required to become a member, but that 
each divisional court should raise its own funds in its 
own way, and control its expenditure. A further rule 
might regulate the wearing of badges. 


You will see that such a programme would meet many 
of the difficulties arising out of the provisions of the new 
Corrupt Practices Act, it would promote voluntary activ- 
ity, and generally, if the League grew to any considerable 
extent, it would become of great value to the Conserva- 
tive Party. 

Pray excuse so long a letter, 

I am, dear Lord Randolph, 
Yours truly, 

J. B. Stone. 
Fortunately, for the Conservative Party, Mr. Stone's 
recommendations were warmly welcomed, and the sug- 
gestion of Sir Drummond Wolfe that the Society, which 
had been named (after Lord Beaconsfield's favourite 
flower), The Primrose League, should be formed " on a sort 
of masonic basis, with different grades, such as associates, 
councillors, and the like," was also promptly adopted. 

In the meantime Birmingham Conservatives had come 
to the conclusion that it was advisable to obtain for the 
next election contest a statesman of the first rank, 
possessor of a strong personality, to run with Burnaby ; 
and Mr. Joseph Rowlands, who had ascertained that 
Lord Randolph Churchill would probably be willing 
to come forward, was officially authorised to approach 
his lordship on the subject. Before giving a definite 
reply, Lord Randolph consulted Mr. Stone, by means of 
a letter dated December 11th, 1883, which runs as follows : 

2, Connaught Place, 
December 11th, 1883. 

Dear Mr. Stone, 

It may interest you to know that the Committee (of 
the Primrose League) met on Saturday, and having voted 
me into the chair by four to three, directed me to com- 
municate to Lord Salisbury the history of its formation, 
and to ask for an interview with him. This was agreed 

I have been asked whether I will stand for Birmingham 
in conjunction with Colonel Burnaby. What is your 


opinion of this ? I should not be unwilling to have a tilt 
at the stronghold if you thought well of it. Let me have 
a few lines at your leisure. 

Yours very truly, 

Randolph S. Churchill. 

In his reply, Mr. Stone pointed out the difficulties 
to be encountered, but nevertheless expressed his opinion 
that the attack should be made. Consequently Lord 
Randolph replied to Mr. Rowlands in the affirmative ; 
and a little later Colonel Burnaby and Lord Randolph 
held a consultation together, Mr. Rowlands and other 
prominent Conservatives being present, and came to an 
understanding upon the policy to be followed in regard 
to the constituency.* 

Some other correspondence ensued between Mr. Stone 
and Lord Randolph on the subject of the Primrose 
League ; later he and Col. Burnaby met Lord Randolph 
and discussed the scheme in his Lordship's town house, 
2, Connaught Place ; and by the spring considerable pro- 
gress had been made with it. Two small rooms in Essex 
Street, Strand, were hired for offices, and on Primrose 
Day, 1884, the members of the first habitation (that for 
the Strand district) met and banqueted jjtogether. 
Then the scheme went forward by leaps and bounds. 
The secretaries could, with difficulty, keep pace with the 
enormous influx of members, and the rooms in Essex 
Street were exchanged for more important accommoda- 
tion in Victoria Street. The first ruling council consisted 
of Lord Randolph Churchill, Sir Henry Drummond 
Wolfe, Mr. (now Sir) Benjamin Stone, Colonel Burnaby, 
Mr. (now Sir) John Gorst, Sir A Slade, Mr. (afterwards 
Sir) William Hardman, Mr. Percy Mitford, Mr. (now Sir 
Frederick) Dixon-Hartland, Sir Henry Hoare, Mr. J. 
Satchell Hopkins, Mr. H. H. Wainwright, Mr. (now Sir) 
Frederick Seager Hunt, Mr. J. Batison, and Mr. Hopkin- 
son. The first Grand Councillor was Lord Abergavenny. 

*The announcement that Colonel Burnaby and Lord Randolph had 
been selected as candidates for Birmingham at the following General 
Election appeared in the Birmingham Daily Post for 26th Jan., 1884. 


Owing to his duties, Burnaby passed most of his life 
in London and at Windsor, and many anecdotes — all of 
them infinitely to his credit — could be 
told concerning his connection with both 57 _ Anecdote8> 
places. As he loved courage, whether dis- 
played by elephant or ant, so he abhorred 
all dastardly conduct, and nothing enraged him more than 
to see a woman ill-treated. One day as the Rev. Robert 
Nutt* was going up from Windsor to London by an early 
morning train, Burnaby jumped into the same compart- 
ment rather out of breath, and with the usual humorous 
twinkle in his eye he remarked, " I've just pitched over 
a gateway some fellow who was beating a woman." 

On returning to Windsor in the evening Mr. Nutt learnt 
that a man in Peascod Street, who that morning had ill- 
treated his wife, had been pulled from her by an officer 
who collared him and tossed him over the closed gates 
of the Star and Garter Inn, in the narrow entry called 
Death Alley. 

Another day Burnaby, when walking through a Wind- 
sor street, was splashed by a scavenger who, on being 
remonstrated with, observed insultingly, " You can go 
and wash yourself if you like." In an instant Burnaby 
seized the man by collar and corduroys, and tossed him 
into his scavenging cart ; and as the fellow rose swearing 
and gesticulating, with filth dropping from every projec- 
tion and protuberance, Burnaby said, with his smile 
Mephistophelian, "You needn't go and wash unless 
you like ! " 

It will be remembered that when Burnaby was ill at 
Naples his life was endangered owing to the mistakes 
of a drunken maid servant. One day some years after 
this event as he and his brother were walking late at 
night down Piccadilly, they happened to meet the un- 
happy woman, and noticed how ill and miserable she 

*Son of Col. Fred's old tutor, the Rev. W. Y. Nutt, curate of 


Burnaby, who recognised her in a moment, at once 
shook hands with her and gave her a couple of sovereigns. 
The sad spectacle had touched him to the quick, and as 
they walked away, he said hoarsely, " She's no worse, 
Evelyn, than a thousand and one others." 

Once he had occasion to reprove a soldier for not wear- 
ing his cap properly. A few weeks later the man, who 
in the meantime had left the regiment, met Burnaby in 
the street and tried to avoid him ; but Burnaby went 
straight up to him and, with the customary twinkle in 
his eye, said, " You can wear your cap, Jones, any way 
you please now, but I can't permit you to cut old friends." 

In June 1882, the Rev. Evelyn Burnaby took a little 
place at Penbury, near Tunbridge Wells, and Mr Edward 
Fleming, son of the Rev. Canon Fleming, stayed with 
him, making his appearance every evening after leaving 
his work on the Stock Exchange. Colonel Burnaby, 
having been invited to spend a weekend at Penbury, 
was met at Tunbridge Wells Station by his brother and 
Mr. Fleming. That night after dinner Mr. Fleming, who 
had just joined the Middlesex Yeomanry Cavalry, ad- 
mitted being puzzled by some of the drill as explained 
in the books. 

" Don't bother your head with drill books, my boy," 
said Burnaby ; and then collecting four chairs, he 
speedily made the difficulties disappear, and the drill as 
plain as A. B.C. 

Evelyn drove his brother back, through the beech 
copses, to Tunbridge Wells Station. The sun was sink- 
ing in crimson and amber, contour of hedge and tree 
assumed a Murillo indefiniteness, the earth gave out her 
essences. Burnaby was powerfully moved. " Life," 
he sighed, ' ' would be worth living in such scenery as this 
if — one's liver would only leave one in peace." 


10th January 1884— 29th march 1884. 

The Two Battles of El Teb. 

In the meantime events had been thickening in the 
Soudan. Hicks Pasha's army was totally annihilated 

by the forces of the Mahdi on 5th November 

_ of EMTeb 1883, and Khartoum and other towns 

4th Feb. i n the vicinity of the Nile were threatened 

by the Soudanese hordes. Just as Burn- 
aby had received his winter's leave of absence, a telegram 
arrived from General Baker's wife, begging him to join 
her husband at Suakim. To receive a request of that 
kind was with Burnaby to consent to it with avidity, 
and he left London, accompanied by his soldier servant, 
Henry Storey, on 10th January, 1884, proceeding via 
the St. Gothard's Tunnel and Milan to Brindisi, whence 
he steamed to Suez. At every turning he found proofs 
of the shocking mis-management of the campaign by the 
Government and the Anglo-Egyptian military authorities 
at Cairo. He says, " There was a troopship going to 
Suakim, and some black soldiers were at Suez ; but, as I 
was informed, the men had not been paid, and the vessel 
would not leave until they had received their money- 
There was no arrangement on board the boat for feeding 
these men, and each black had to provision himself 
for the five days' journey down the Red Sea — most of 
them bringing bags of biscuits, oranges, etc. They 
were accompanied in many instances by their wives and 
children. Yet, all the time General Baker was in the 
direst straits for troops, and he had been promised that 



they should be sent him. " And now," continued Burn- 
aby, " we had arrived at January 20th, and instead of 
filling the steamers with men, the Minister was sending a 
number of women and children, at a moment when every 
available berth was required for soldiers ; when Sinkat 
was almost at its last gasp, and when it was believed that 
Tokar was in a similar condition. At last our troops 
were paid. They had been taken on board, some of them 
in leg irons to prevent them from running away. A stout, 
middle-aged Egyptian, a major in rank, commanded the 
troops ; he was accompanied by his wife, an Abyssinian 
slave, whom he had purchased, and two children. The 
black and the Egyptian officers on board frequently 
quarrelled ; and the rank and file not only quarrelled, but 
fought ; nor was the disturbance quieted until a young 
black officer who owned three wives jumped below with 
a koorbag, or rhinoceros hide whip, and administered 
blows right and left." Such was the material sent to 
assist General Baker. But that was not the worst. 
While they were yet in sight of the quivering incandes- 
cence which resolved itself into Suakim, the Egyptians — 
officers as well as men — proved themselves arrant 
cowards. The very mention of the name Arab made 
them tremble. Baker's camp was three quarters of a 
mile from the port, and after twenty minutes' walk 
in a burning sun, Burnaby found himself at the door of 
Baker's tent, and shaking hands with his old friend. 

" Three thousand friendly Arabs," said Baker, " are 
marching to Sinkat, where Tewfik Bey is still defending 
himself with a few hundred soldiers. These, I trust, 
will rescue Tewfik. My own task is to proceed by sea 
to Trinkitat* and relieve Tokar by an expedition from 
Trinkitat harbour." Unhappily, however, both expedi- 
tions, owing to circumstances quite beyond Baker's 
control, were doomed to frightful failure. 

The friendly Arabs had scarcely started when they 
learnt that the English Government had proclaimed its 

* Fifty miles to the south east of Suakim. 


intention of withdrawing from the Soudan. " If we help 
Tewfik," our allies asked themselves, " and so offend 
the Mahdi and Osman Digna, who will save us from their 
fury when the English are gone ? " Consequently, 
instead of relieving Sinkat, they left to their fate its 
courageous defenders, who were massacred to a man. 
On January 31st Burnaby and Baker (Colonel Hay and 
Major Harvey accompanying them), embarked for Trink- 
itat, with a force of 4,500 Eyptian soldiers, and on their 
arrival they selected for their camp a suitable site, which 
they at once strengthened by throwing up earthworks. 
It was wonderful to see the energy with which the 
Egyptians worked. Every fresh spadeful of earth, they 
supposed, would make Fort Baker, as they named the 
camp, so much the stronger, and afford additional pro- 
tection to themselves from the enemy's bullets. Four 
days later Baker and his men, the latter with craven 
hearts, advanced to the relief of Tokar. But their fear 
of the Arabs was not the only trouble ; many of them 
had never before fired a rifle, and therefore scarcely dared 
handle their own weapon. Baker and Burnaby, how- 
ever, in the brief time at their disposal, did their best to 
teach these new levies how to shoot, and urged them 
not to be afraid of the Arabs, to whom they themselves, 
owing to the superiority of their weapons, ought to be a 
mortal terror. It was now the morning of February 4th. 
Baker ordered an advance in the form of three squares — 
the largest composed of Egyptian troops with the 
Krupps and Gatlings in the front ; the two smaller, 
composed of Turks and blacks in the rear — the whole 
line of advance and the flanks being enveloped by a thin 
skirt of Egyptian cavalry. After some unskilful skir- 
mishing, a remarkable scene ensued. Three Arab horse- 
men, having shown themselves over the brow of a hill, 
the cavalry, instead of facing them, turned tail and 
galloped madly away. One of the Arabs rode deliber- 
ately into a squadron, and cut down first the officer in 
command, who made no attempt to defend himself, 



although he had his sword drawn, and then two more 
men who, like their officer, made no defence ; and he 
would doubtless, have demolished, single-handed, the 
whole of the cavalry had not a pistol bullet stopped 
his work of destruction. Then burst a tremendous fire 
from the large square, and a number of the cavalry 
dropped, killed by their own friends of the infantry. 
This completed the confusion, the whole of the cavalry 
then galloped full speed from the field of battle ; and the 
rout of the cavalry was instantly followed by the breaking 
up of the squares. In vain Baker, Burnaby and Harvey 
tried to rally their men. The sight was one never to be 
forgotten, some four thousand men rushing pell-mell 
for their lives from a few hundred Arabs, who speared 
them as if they were sheep. Baker and Burnaby, finding 
the Arabs between themselves and the Egyptians, hewed 
their way through their foes. On all sides could be seen 
Egyptians on their knees praying for mercy, while the 
handful of Englishmen were selling their lives dearly. 
Here an Egyptian, who had thrown away his rifle and 
had run two or three hundred yards, could be observed 
undressing himself in order to run more easily ; there a 
Turk galloping as fast as his horse could go and firing his 
carbine, regardless whether he hit friend or foe : and 
though the English officers still tried to rally the Egyp- 
tians, and even shot some of the more cowardly, nothing 
would induce the others to stand. 

Among those who escaped, as by a miracle, was Burn- 
aby's servant. When the squares broke up, Storey, 

who was on a saddleless and bridleless 

59— Storey's horse, made a dash for his life, but he pre- 

Escape. sently found himself surrounded by Arabs 

and camels. Fortunately his horse was a 
kicker, and after letting fly with the whole of its energy, 
it carried Storey, who was hanging to its neck, right 
through the masses of Arabs. A few hundred yards 
further on, it jumped a bush, and in so doing threw its 
rider. Storey, however, managed to grip the collar chain, 

From The Grapliic. 

28th February, 1884. 


and as the terrified horse would not let him mount he 
ran by its side still holding to the chain ; and hotly pur- 
sued by the howling enemy — horse and man racing their 
breathless race with death. When some three miles 
had been covered they overtook Colonel Burnaby, who 
stopped the horse and asked Storey why he had not 

1 The wind was out of my body, sir," he replied, 
" and the horse would not stand." 

Burnaby gave a leg-up, and the man managed to re- 
main on his horse till he was beyond the pursuit of the 

Trinkitat regained, it was discovered that 2,300 men 
and ninety officers had been killed ; and such was the 
cowardice of the Egyptians that, having reached the sea, 
they ran into the water up to their necks, afraid of an 
enemy not within three miles of them. With their 
reduced force, their stores, horses, etc., Baker and Burn- 
aby embarked next morning for Suakim ; and thus ter- 
minated one of the most shameful and amazing incidents 
in the history of modern warfare. 

Burnaby laid all the blame for the misfortune on Mr. 
Gladstone and the Cairo officials who, but for that Minis- 
ter's announcement that the Soudan was to 
be surrendered, would have sent on bet- Battle of El 
ter fighting material ; and his feelings were Teb, 28th 

more bitter than ever against the Liberal 
Government. Almost the first news that reached the 
defeated army on its arrival at Suakim, was that the 
chief command had been taken from Baker and con- 
ferred on Admiral Hewett — the former being thus pun- 
ished for the shortcomings of his superiors. Hewett, 
though scarcely an ideal man for the post, did his best — 
one of his first acts being to reorganise the black troops 
and to officer them with men of their own colour in place 
of the dastardly Egyptians. But in the meantime the 
Government, lashed to action by an exasperated public — 
for England was at last thoroughly roused— had sent out 


under General Graham, another expedition, and the first 
contingent, the 10th Hussars, under Colonel Wood, 
arrived just after the El Teb disaster. Their first act 
was to take over the horses belonging to the Egyptian 
cavalry, who, instead of grumbling at this proceeding, 
surrendered them joyfully — and the word went round — 
" How kind these English are ; they take our horses, 
groom them, and are, absolutely, going to fight our battles 
for us." 

On General Graham's arrival at Suakim, Baker and 
Burnaby, having requested employment, were placed in 
the Intelligence Department, and they returned to 
Trinkitat, where most of the English troops had already 
landed. From the new camp near that town the English 
could plainly see Fort Baker, which had been occupied 
by the Arabs, and on the parapet of which waved a red 
flag. Bodies of the enemy could be discerned in the 
distance, but when Major Harvey and Burnaby rode on 
with some mounted infantry to make a reconnaissance, 
the Arabs fell back. The question was whether or not 
there were any of them behind the earthworks. 

" I will have that flag," said Harvey, " Arabs or no 

" Unless I get it ! " said Burnaby. 

And setting spurs to their horses, they raced at full 
speed for the prize ; but Burnaby's seventeen stone 
being no match against the lighter man, he was beaten 
by at least three lengths. The fort proved to be deserted, 
and a little later it was occupied by General Graham. 

" How useful," observed Burnaby, " a captive balloon 
would be now ! It would enable us to locate with pre- 
cision the position of the enemy."* 

\. In the former expedition the Egyptians had trembled 
with fear ; the only fear of their English successors was 
lest the Arabs should not stand and fight. On the morn- 
ing, of February 28th, General Graham prepared to attack 

* See also his remarks in Fortnightly Review (May 1884) where he says 
that an aeronaut 700 feet above Fort Baker could easily have given all 
the information required respecting the enemy's entrenchments. 


the enemy. Having sent forward a thin stream of cav- 
alry and mounted infantry, he himself, with the main 
army, formed into one large square, followed at a distance 
of about a mile. Burnaby, who rode with the mounted 
infantry, could see as he passed the site of the previous 
battle great flocks of vultures, who were still busy 
gorging themselves on the corpses. The cavalry were 
ordered not to fire on meeting the enemy but to fall 
back slowly. Presently signs of the Arabs were 
manifest, and it was found that they had secured them- 
selves behind some excellent entrenchments and a low 
parapet, mounted with the Krupp guns, which had been 
taken from the Egyptians. Burnaby, who could 
see only about forty men in the forts, rode back and 
told Graham how matters stood ; but Baker, who was 
riding with Graham, observed : " Yes, but you may de- 
pend upon it the Arabs are in very large force there for 
I have just seen through my glasses a thousand heads 
rise for an instant, as it were from the ground, and 
then disappear." 

Graham, having determined to turn the enemy's 
position, instead of attacking it in front, the pipes were 
ordered to play, and the whole force advanced briskly 
and with enthusiasm. At a distance of a thousand yards 
the Arabs opened fire, and Graham's men began to fall, 
among those hit being General Baker, who received, 
to use Mr. Melton Prior's expression, " a beastly shrapnel 
bullet weighing three ounces " in his collarbone. He 
dismounted, in compliance with the importunity of his 
friends, in order to have the wound dressed — but in five 
minutes he was again in the saddle. Acting under orders, 
the whole British force then lay flat on the ground ; 
and the Arabs must have been amazed indeed, to see 
an enemy, not running away, but coolly lying down, 
and not returning a single shot in reply to their projectiles. 
Then belched the Gardners and Gatlings their streams 
of iron, and the guns of the enemy having been silenced, 
the bugler sounded the advance. Instantly the British 


soldiers sprang to their feet, but they had scarcely begun 
their march forward with fixed bayonets when, with wild 
cries and brandished weapons the Arab myriads poured 
down upon them in cataracts — bearing both on front and 
flank. Again and again, flock after flock, were mown 
down like corn, but the more there were slain the more, 
it seemed, there were pouring behind them. " Burnaby, 
in his shirt sleeves and without coat or waistcoat, picked 
off the enemy much as a crack shot would kill big game.* 
' It was marvellous," he said afterwards, " to see how 
they came on, heedless of death, shouting and brandish- 
ing their weapons." To right and left they fell. Even 
the wounded leaped again to their feet and rushed 
forward. A few got within ten paces of the square. 
At last the Arabs were checked, and they suddenly fell 
back towards their parapet. Again and again Burnaby, 
in spite of the warnings of Mr. Bennet Burleigh, who was 
on horseback and could clearly see the danger, moved out 
of the face of the square to fire over the parapet ; then, too, 
when the British forces made a rush on the fort, Burnaby, 
with his double-barrelled shot gun, was the first to reach 
it. While ascending the parapet he was surrounded by 
five or six Arabs, who attacked him altogether, but 
having fired off both the barrels of his gun, he defended 
himself with the butt end of it. An Arab spear pierced 
his left arm, and he might have been overcome had not a 
Gordon Highlander dashed to his assistance with a 
bayonet. Storey, too, had another narrow escape, 
his horse's skull having been smashed by an Arab shell. f 
Eventually, however, the enemy took to flight, leaving 
on the battlefield some 2,000 dead. The day being 
over and the battle won, the wounded received orders to 
return to Suakim. Baker, who suffered tortures from 
his wound, Burnaby with his disabled arm, and a few 
men of the 10th Hussars, rode straight to Trinkitat, 

*Mr. Melton Prior. 

f In the fall Storey was pinned to the ground by the animal's body, but 
a Cairo mounted policeman released him, and he sustained no particular 


From The Dart, 7th March, 1S84. 
After the Battle of El Teb. 

Draun by E. C. Mountfort. 


passing on their way the old Egyptian battlefield ; 
and when Burnaby, gazing on the frightful sight of mutil- 
ated and foul-smelling corpses, thought of the dead brave 
Arabs, he vented in uncontrolled language, his bit- 
ter feelings against the author of all the trouble. 
" Many an Arab widow and many an Arab mother," 
he said, " must have cursed to the pit the author of all 
those disasters in the Soudan— the Prime Minister of Eng- 
land. If only the English Government had acted prompt- 
ly five months earlier, all this bloodshed would have been 
spared." On arriving at Trinkitat, he proceeded, via 
Suez, to Cairo, where he was received by the Khedive, 
who presented him with the Soudan medal and the Khe- 
dive star. 

" Colonel Fred Burnaby," commented an English 

paper,* " is, I see, on his way home Meanwhile, 

it may be well if Members of Parliament of a discontented 
turn of mind, and their representatives in the Press, 
would abstain from disparaging the action of Colonel 
Burnaby in volunteering his services at a crisis. From 
certain comments, it would seem that it is disgraceful 
for an English officer to give his assistance in an emer- 
gency to his countrymen when he finds himself in a posi- 
tion to do so. We may be sure the people of England will 
value the services of Col. Burnaby at their right 

After nursing his wound for a few days at Cairo, he 
hastened home, reaching it on March 29th, arm in a sling, 
but otherwise not a tittle the worse for his adventure. 
As a relic of the fight he brought with him the " beastly 
shrapnel bullet weighing three ounces," but, after 
having it mounted on a stand with mortar for matches, 
he returned it to the man who had most right to it — his 
friend Baker. 

In England Burnaby received a warm welcome, both 
from his relations and friends and the public — among 

• Judy I think. 


those who congratulated him being Mr. 

and Mrs. Benjamin Stone. Little Harry 

61— Anecdotes. , . * 

Burnaby was very troubled on account ol 

the injury to his father's arm, and wanted 

to know just how it happened. On being told, he said, 

with emphasis, " when me get a big man, me get a big 

sword, and kill the man who hurt my father." 

Harry Burnaby has improved in his grammar, and 
added many inches to his stature since that day — for he 
is almost as tall as was his valiant father ; but that he 
will ever come across the particular Arab against whom 
he vowed vengeance is now problematical. 

" There is one prayer in the Litany," observed Burn- 
aby to Mrs. Stone, " which I never repeat." 

" And what is that ? " she enquired. 

" From sudden death Good Lord deliver 



30th march 1884 — 10th November 1884. 

The Birmingham Riots. 


12. Possibilities of Ballooning, Fortnightly Review, vol. 

35, N.S. May 1884. 

13. Our Radicals. Written in 1884. Published in 

2 vols., 1886. 

A few days after Burnaby's return, it was arranged 

that he and Lord Randolph should visit Birmingham 

and speak from the same platform. The 

62— The El Teb news which they had from time to time 
Speeches, 15th , „ . , . , e 

April, 1884. received from their supporters, was oi a 

most satisfactory nature, and Burnaby 
became convinced that at the next election* they would 
both be returned. On his way to Birmingham — and he 
was now a popular hero as well as a Conservative candi- 
date — his train halted for a few minutes at Leamington, 
where he was met by a number of Conservative gentle- 
men, headed by the Mayor ; and, having alighted from 
his carriage, he gave a brief speech. " Every British 
soldier," he said, " in a foreign land in a time of war does 
his best — in a word, his duty. I have done neither more 
nor less than any other officer or soldier in the Soudan." 
At Birmingham he received a tremendous ovation. 

* A little later, as the result of the Redistribution of Seats Bill, Birming- 
ham was divided into seven constituencies, but, at the time we speak of, it 
was supposed that Burnaby and Lord Randolph would contest the town 
on the old lines. 

(229) N 2 


The Town Hall, in which the meeting took place,* 
was crowded to the doors, and great numbers were unable 
to gain admittance. Burnaby, whose arm was still in a 
sling, made a vigorous onslaught upon the Government, 
his principal grievance being its slothfulness in effecting 
an advance on Khartoum, where Gordon remained be- 
sieged by the troops of the Mahdi ; and then he gave 
a circumstantial account of the first battle of El Teb — 
speaking with marvellous force, and not omitting to 
accentuate the causes which led to the defeat of the 
Khedive's forces. At the conclusion he promised to 
continue his narrative on the following night, and as he 
left the Hall he received another ovation from his sup- 
porters, who escorted him amid vociferous cheering 
to the Grand Hotel. Next evening the Town Hall was 
again crowded ; and Lord Randolph having given his in- 
augural address as newly-elected President of the Midland 
Conservative Club, Burnaby fulfilled his promise of the 
preceding night. 

His account of the second battle of El Teb, and the 
intrepidity of both the English troops and their Arab 
opponents, the tremor of his voice and the evident 
sincerity of every word uttered, moved his hearers to their 
centre ; and he thus concluded what was perhaps the 
most telling of all his speeches. "A few days after the 
second battle, we learnt that the Government had deter- 
mined to scuttle out of Suakim, leaving that brave and 
gallant man, General Gordon, surrounded by his oppo- 
nents- — that man who, putting his faith in Mr. Gladstone 
and his colleagues, went with his life in his hands to Khar- 
toum to negotiate with the Mahdi, but who, when he 
asked for a small detachment of cavalry, was refused ; 
whose provisions must day by day be getting more and 
more scanty, who must be daily getting further and fur- 
ther away from civilisation, and more and more sur- 
rounded by his opponents ; that brave man, whom all 
England loves ; who worked for years past conscientiously, 

•April 15th. 


Lord Randolph Churchill (gallantly): ' You shall only reach him 

-Punch, 29th March, 1884. 

through me 

By special permission of the Proprietors of Fundi. 


straightforwardly, not so much for thrones or honours, 
but for the English people. And he is to be abandoned 
at Khartoum ! Gordon may die in order to let Mr. Glad- 
stone's Government live ! Allow me, my friends, here, 
Radicals as well as Conservatives, to make an appeal to 
you— for you all, Radicals as well as Conservatives, 
you all love Gordon — let me ask you— all of you," he 
cried vehemently, " Englishmen, Scotchmen, and Irish- 
men, to unite together to force this cowardly Govern- 
ment of time-servers to rescue General Gordon. It 
would not be so difficult to do it. Even during the sum- 
mer months preparations might be made. The dis- 
tinguished General* who so ably conducted the expedi- 
tion on the Red River would, I feel convinced, if it were 
offered him, at once accept the command of such an ex- 
pedition ; and however much the hatred of war may be 
in the hearts of Radicals and Liberals, as well as Conserva- 
tives, I feel that there is not one man, not one woman, 
not one child in England who, if the case were put 
straightforwardly before them, would not at once say, 
' Spare no money, but rescue General Gordon.' " 

Burnaby had spoken what he felt, and his success was 
owing less to the genius in him than to the workings of a 
natural law. He let himself go ; and as many another 
in similar circumstances has done, he " spake," to 
borrow an expression from Stendhal, " a language that 
was foreign to him." 

When he sat down a small, mean-looking man, who 
was close to the platform rose and said, 
"They paid me to interrupt, but since "^gJiiKa 
you spoke of the war I wish I hadn't. 
I apologise." 

Burnaby put out his hand. The man said, " I'm not 
a gentleman, sir, I'm a sweep." 

" I don't care a damf what you are by trade," said 
Burnaby, " the trade doesn't make the gentleman." 

* Lord Wolseley. 

tA dam is an Eastern coin. The Duke of Wellington introduced the 
word from India. 


" But I only sweep chimneys," said the man. 

" Do you sweep them well ? " asked Burnaby. 

" I hope so." 

"Then you do your duty and no man can do more, 
and the man that does his duty is a gentleman." 

Burnaby never set up for wisdom, but his spirit and 
manly feeling inspired him with apposite answer and 
trenchant retort. At his intense moments — and they 
were many — he invariably showed himself at his best. 

"When he first entered Birmingham," says a corres- 
pondent, " a Tory in the town was a thing unspeakable, 
leprous, accursed. The rancour of the Radicals and 
the impotence of the Conservatives at the time 
was beyond belief ; but the charm of his personality 
acted so powerfully on even the most envenomed of 
his adversaries, that in time he would assuredly have 
been returned." His long talks of the hellish sights 
which he had seen in the Soudan, how the dead bodies 
lay putrifying, of the fiendish cruelties of the Mahdi's 
officers — were unique in connection with an election ; 
and he wrought up his audiences to fever pitch. Men 
had never before heard anything like it, and they were 
profoundly impressed. 

" What a pity," said the Radical lambs, " that he's 
a d d Tory."" 

Again and again the public called for him ; and on 
7th May (1884) he addressed a huge meeting of Conserva- 
tives in the Temperance Hall at Leicester, where he 
attacked the Government with more incisiveness and 
passion than ever. He declared that their policy during 
the preceding four years reminded him of Rabelais' 
coat, his famous coat — nothing before, nothing behind, 
and sleeves of the same pattern. He prophesied a speedy 
return to power of the Tory party, and declared that 
its policy should be peace — peace with honour, not a 
peace which humilitates our nation. He considered 
a dishonourable peace worse than war, seeing that it in- 
creases bloodshed in the future. " I have nothing," he 


said, " but scorn for those sheep-like adherents of Mr. 
Gladstone, who ' baa ' with him in whatever key he 
chooses to pitch his voice." He held the source of Lord 
Beaconsfield's power to have been his habit of keeping 
himself in touch with the people. He defended the House 
of Lords. " The House of Lords," he said, " has great 
responsibilities ; so long as it does not shirk them it will 
live an ornament to our legislature ; when it is afraid 
to act independently, from that date its days are num- 
bered." He quoted Lord Randolph Churchill, and de- 
clared that England was living under a " one man 
tyranny." " Can anyone suppose," he asked, " that the 
' one-man tyranny ' in the person of Mr. Gladstone repre- 
sents the people ? If it were put to the vote to-morrow 
throughout Great Britain — ' Is Gordon to die or Mr. 
Gladstone's administration to live ? ' -have you any 
doubt as to what would be the result of the poll ? There 
is an idea prevalent among some classes that England 
has arrived at the summit of her grandeur, that she is 
on the decline, that we ought to give up our foreign 
possessions, and, retiring within the limits of our little 
island, content ourselves with our insular situation. 
Those who talk like this are unworthy of the name they 
bear." Then he dealt with the advance of the Russians 
towards India, and declared that the Czar would do as he 
liked as long as he knew Mr. Gladstone was in office. 
" No nation," he said, " has had such a wretched history 
as ours during the last four years. Treachery, deceit, 
false promises, betrayals, misleading statements, sur- 
renders, such base and contemptible conduct never 
stained any former administration." 

Returning to Gordon, he said " Like Caiaphas, the 
Government urges the doctrine of expediency. It will 
cost blood and money to rescue Gordon ; it is expedient 
that one man should die. Ask yourselves this question : 
1 Is Mr. Gladstone's Government to live or Gordon to 
die ? ' Then unite, and with one cry to Heaven, let 
the voice of Great Britain be heard, and hurl from office 


the most contemptible and cowardly Government Eng- 
land has ever seen." 

So terminated one of the most trenchant political 
utterances that Burnaby ever made, and practically it 
was his last. These speeches, streaming with molten 
fury from the lips of a hero and king among men tho- 
roughly roused a lethargic nation, but those whose ears 
tingled as they listened to them, and those in whose veins 
the hot blood raced, as they read the reports of them in 
the newspapers, little knew the strain all these labours 
of war and peace had been upon the dashing soldier 
and fervid speaker. But if he suffered tortures from 
both heart and lung, still he was supremely happy, for 
he felt that if he had fought well, he had likewise spoken 

Then uprose the outcry that at El Teb he had used a 
shot gun instead of a regulation rifle ; and in every later 
caricature of him, there figures this same shot gun. 
" Surely," observed Mr. Melton Prior, " to make all that 
fuss was the height of absurdity. The object in war 
(as any sensible man understands it) is to kill or disarm 
your enemy, and it appears to me that it cannot matter 
whether you use a powder mine, a torpedo, a hundred ton 
gun, or a double-barrelled shot gun, so long as you attain 
the object in view — particularly when face to face with a 
savage, Avhere it is a case of kill or be killed." 

When Burnaby next visited Birmingham his presence 
was the signal for unprecedented rioting. He arrived 
65— TheBanquet in the town on October 14th, being accom- 

in the Exchange ied b Lord Carnarvon, Sir Stafford 
Assembly Room. l J 

Mr. Rowlands, and Lady Northcote, Lord Randolph 

14th Oct., 1884. Churchill, Sir Edward Clarke, and others, 
and was present at the banquet given on that day in the 
Exchange Assembly Room.* The guests were still 
seated when news reached Mr. Rowlands that the Liber- 
als, who had issued the circular, " Churchill leaves the 
Exchange Rooms at 10.30; meet him and greet him," 

* Close to New Street Station. 

tlMt^ >^~-- 

M f s~ .'/. //*/— 

C Cll*-- r " 


Lord Randolph Churchill and Colonel Burnaby preparing for the General 


Nurse Birmingham (loq.) : " Oh dear ! but what will Mr. Schnadhorst say ? '' 

The Dart, nth April, 1884. 

Cartoon by E. C- Mount/ort. 


intended mobbing the party on their way out ; but when 
he communicated it to Burnaby, the latter only said, 
with his Mephistophelian smile, " Then we shall have 
some fun." As he spoke there arose from without 
a tremendous and ear-racking howl — the united effort 
of thousands of throats — to be succeeded by other howls 
— and as wave after wave of sound surged into the room, 
the ladies present turned pale. 

' I can take you and Lord Randolph to your hotel by 
a private passage," said Mr. Rowlands. 

" No, I am going this way," said Burnaby, cheerily, 
and pointing to the main entrance ; with which, overcoat 
flying and evening dress showing, he walked straight 
into the seething mob. 

He was at once surrounded, and he could be seen 
first in Corporation Street and later in Bull Street, head 
and shoulders above the human sea, jostled now this way, 
now that, but always advancing in the direction he wished 
to go. Lord Randolph and Mr. Rowlands, who took the 
private cut, arrived at the Grand Hotel unmolested ; 
and shortly afterwards the Colonel appeared in the dis- 
tance, escorted b)^ his mob, who, wonderful to say — 
instead of howling and hissing (though certainly someone 
flung an onion which missed its mark) were cheering him 
to the skies, and nothing would satisfy them but a rousing 
speech, which he readily gave them from the front of the 

Next day a mass meeting was held in Aston Lower 
Grounds, and it was also arranged to hold an overflow 
meeting in the much smaller Assembly 65— The Aston 
Room hard by.* The speakers included p ark Riots. Mr. 
Burnaby and Lord Randolph (the big dare- the Platform, 
devil and the little dare-devil, as Birming- 15th 0ct -' 1884 - 
ham now thought proper to call them), Sir Stafford 
Northcote, Sir Edward Clarke, and Mr. Darling, Q.C.,f 
famous for his biting epigrams directed against Mr. 

•At the Holte Hotel. 
fNow Mr. Justice Darling. 


Chamberlain, and it was arranged that each having 
delivered his address in the larger room, shonld pass to 
the smaller and speak there. Among those in the 
Assembly Room was a large party of the Sparkbrook 
Club, Mr. Robert J. Buckley being among them. He and 
his friends had not waited long before news arrived that 
there was a frightful tumult in the larger room, that 
walls were being scaled, panels of doors kicked in, and 
missiles hurled by a truculent and infuriated crowd. 
The Sparkbrook Club — fighters all, and lovers of fight — 
at once rushed out, and having hastily formed themselves 
into a solid column, they made a dash towards the great 
hall, with the intention of assisting their friends. The 
enemy withstood them, and friend and foe became 
inextricably mingled. What exactly happened in the 
sweltering hurly-burly is not clear, but somehow Mr. 
Buckley found himself inside the Great Hall and on the 
platform just as the audience were rushing it. For a 
moment its occupants, who included besides Colonel 
Burnaby, Sir Stafford and Lady Northcote, were in doubt 
what to do ; but at that juncture Mr. Buckley snatched 
at a cane-bottomed chair, and having seized it by one leg 
he charged like a maniac at the storming party just as it 
was scaling the position close to where Lady Northcote 
was sitting, and hurled it back in confusion. Then as 
the chair broke, becoming a flail, and consequently diffi- 
cult to manage, he snatched at Burnaby's walking stick 
and resumed his attack on the skulls and hands of the 
assaulting party. But next moment he was down, the 
platform was stormed, and with oaths, loud and strident 
cries, and play of fists, the human torrent swept over 
him. In the meantime the speakers and the stewards 
had quitted the platform — followed by a shower of mis- 
siles — Burnaby, whose sense of the ridiculous and deep- 
set appreciation of the incongruous had been touched by 
Buckley's escapade, nearly choking with laughter. 

Mr. Stone then courageously thrust his way as near as 
possible to the edge of the platform, with a view to 
















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announcing that the meeting was dissolved, but the up- 
roar was so deafening that even those near him could 
not hear a syllable ; nor was Mr. Rowlands more suc- 
cessful, and finally, finding gesticulations hopeless, both 
gentlemen joined the retreating party — with whole skins, 
but pathetically damaged silk hats. Rising from the 
floor, and fortunately unhurt, Mr. Buckley ploughed his 
way through the seething crowd until he reached the 
Assembly Room, at the door of which stood Sir Stafford 
Northcote, Lady Northcote, Lord Randolph, and Sir 
Edward Clarke ; and there the Goliath Burnaby ex- 
plained to the slim, boyish figure of Lord Randolph, 
how his chair and his stick had been used — his deep guf- 
faw mingling with Lord Randolph's jay-like laugh. 

" You shall have that stick," said Burnaby, addressing 
Mr. Buckley in a comic voice, " and a silver plate with 
the inscription ' For valour.' " 

On October 18th, Burnaby was expected to meet and 
address his sturdy Sparkbrook friends ; but, being pre- 
vented from fulfilling his engagement, he wrote to Mr. 
Buckley as follows : 

14th October (1884). 
Dear Buckley, 

Will you tell my good friends of the Sparkbrook Club 
that I deeply regret my inability to preside over the 
smoking concert next Saturday ? It is with real regret 
that I am compelled to come to this decision, but the 
simple fact is that I can't manage it anyhow, except at 
serious disadvantage. Do your best to impress the men 
with a due sense of my disappointment, and promise 
on my behalf that on the very first opportunity I will 
spend an evening at the club, even if I have to travel from 
London on purpose. I wish you had come to my room 
after the row. I quite expected you. When I think of 
your sudden appearance at the back, and your still more 
sudden bound to the front, I nearly die with laughing : 
the chair in ribbons, and next your snapping up my inno- 
cent stick and belabouring the scaling party ; the whole 


scene strikes me as one of the most comic I ever beheld, 
or ever shall. Not that I am unconscious of the sober 
merit of the dash, in point of pluck and courage. Per- 
haps I laugh because the thing was so contrary to my 
impression of you, sitting at the piano while folks 
warbled sentimental songs. I think the country will now 
estimate at its true worth the Brummagem brag of Free 
Speech and the rest. All humbug, and blackguardly 
humbug at that. How tragic to see an estimable Eng- 
lish gentleman like Sir Stafford speaking mildly and 
courteously to a crowd of howling ruffians. It makes 
me sick to think of it. Then there was Lady Northcote, 
and that sterling Englishman Stone, whose character 
is an honour to his town. And the men who treated them 
so brutally are the myrmidons of Chamberlain ; these 
roaring, screaming, slaves of a caucus imported from the 

Never mind. The thing must do us good. The true 
nature of Birmingham Liberalism, its tyranny and in- 
tolerance, are made manifest. Mind, I don't for one 
moment attribute the riot to the instigation of Chamber- 
lain. I simply don't believe it— his underlings no doubt 
but acting without Chamberlain's knowledge. He would 
not have approved I am sure. For I have met him in 
private, and I think him quite straight, besides being a 
capital entertainer. In short, Joey is as agreeable as a 
man as he is damnable as a politician, in his beliefs I mean. 

Be sure to impress the club with my disappointment. 
I mean it : but what is deferred is not lost. 

Yours faithfully, 

Fred Burnaby. 

A few days afterwards there was a meeting in one of the 
outlying districts of Birmingham, convened for the pur- 
pose of forwarding the Town Council 
66— The Yellow election of Mr. R. C. Jarvis ; and Burnaby 
Ju £ # had promised to be present. Just before 
the commencement, Mr. Buckley came 


















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across Burnaby in a small public house, which was used 
in some semi-official way by Mr. Jarvis's committee. 
Standing on the moist red brick floor of the little place, 
his head almost brushing the ceiling, Burnaby declared 
that he was as dry as a lime-kiln.* 

Champagne was proffered, but he waved it away. 
" No, no," he said, " Give me beer, good honest beer, 
and plenty of it. Bring me a quart at least." 

Soon came a big, common, yellow jug ; and Burnaby, 
taking it by spout and handle, tilted it over his mouth, 
drank the whole, and as it seemed, at one draught, and 
returned the jug with a deep sigh of content. ' It's an 
awful thing," he said with emotion, " to be ten feet long, 
and dry all the way down." 

He then handed to Mr. Buckley the promised stick. 
"Keepsake," he said. "You know. Perhaps I shall 
never return to Birmingham." 

" I understood you were to remain in England," said 
Mr. Buckley. 

" Don't you be surprised if I turn up in Egypt," said 
Burnaby, " but — not a syllable ! " 

At the meeting a curious coincidence occurred. An 
old lady named Davis asked Mr. Jarvis to inform Bur- 
naby that she wished to present him with a walking 

" I look on this new stick," said Burnaby to Mr. 
Buckley, " as a token of the direct approval of Providence 
towards my giving you mine." 

Upon which Mr. Jarvis said, " Then the inference 
follows that Providence must have been pleased with the 
use to which Mr. Buckley put the first stick. "f 

' In any case there was no danger of knocking ouc their 
brains," said Burnaby. 

After the meeting Burnaby and Mr. Buckley returned 

* During his last twelve months, Burnaby, owing to his complaint, 
suffered severely from thirst. 

f Mr. Jarvis who got into the Town Council and became an Alderman, 
died in 1907. 


to the little tavern, and Burnaby, standing up as before, 
took another gargantuan drink out of the yellow jug. 

" Is it good ? " asked the old taverner, anxiously. 

" Nectar ! " said Burnaby, smacking his lips. 

" I beg your pardon, sir," said the old man, doubt- 

" Drink for the very gods ! " said Burnaby. 

" By , you shall have another jug ! " cried the de- 
lighted old man. 

Then came Burnaby's cab, and he shook hands all 
round. " He sprang in," says Mr. Buckley. " I went 
to him ; he put out his hand. Quite distinctly I remember 
its softness and grip, while he repeated in a whisper, 
words similar to those he had used an hour or two be- 
fore. " Don't be surprised if I turn up in Egvpt after 

The cab rattled away. 

Burnaby had given Birmingham of his best, and Bir- 
mingham, as the Rabelaisian scene in the little tavern 
bears witness, had not been ungrateful ; and so he van- 
ished from her precincts for ever. 

He passed the summer of 1884 partly at Somerby 

and partly at 36, Beaufort Gardens, but he was ever 

of a roving disposition, and it was not often 

67— Brompton h e had a meal at home. His household 
and Somerby . , , „ ,. , C1 

Nov. 1884. consisted only ot a policeman named My 

and his wife, who now and then called in 
occasional help. His health still gave anxiety to his 
friends. No longer able to practise Spartan habits, 
he used to lie late and, as his sight also gave him un- 
easiness, if he read from the papers it was always with 
blue glasses. When he wished to go out Mrs. Sly would 
stand on a chair and help him into his thick and heavily 
lined and furred great coat. On his return he would 
drop — " shaking the house as he did so " — into a low- 
built easy chair, the springs of which had been so flat- 
tened with his weight, that the under bands were but a 
few inches from the ground ; and the afternoon would be 










spent in writing, dictating to his secretary, Mr. Percival 
Hughes, or calling on or being visited by his friends, 
Mr. Labouchere, Lord Winchelsea, Sir Eyre Massey 
Shaw, Sir Robert Peel, and Mr. Toole, the actor (Toole 
used to say that the merriest hour he could remember 
was one spent in a hansom with Burnaby) ; while he also 
renewed acquaintance with Don Carlos, Duke of Madrid, 
who was visiting London. His principal lady friends in 
London society — Les trois grandes dames, as he called 
them, were Lady Molesworth, Lady Waldegrave, and 
the Marchioness of Ely, with the last of whom he kept 
up a regular correspondence. When he begged Lady Ely 
to intercede with the Queen for the re-instation of Colonel 
Baker in the British Army, her ladyship was able to 
reply that the difficulty lay not with her Majesty, 
who was willing, but with Colonel Baker, who had re- 

When Burnaby wished to write he first made himself 
comfortable in his low, easy chair, by drawing up his long 
legs till his knees touched his chin ; and his pen, running 
its course over paper supported by a huge blotting book, 
did the rest. At his side always stood an inhaler, which he 
used almost hourly to ease his breathing. Owing to his 
inability to take sufficient exercise he rapidly increased 
in weight ; the sluggishness of his circulation made him 
feel the cold ; still he had a distinct mercy, his arm being 
once more out of its sling. The cataracts of warm tea 
which he daily poured down his throat in order to quench 
his raging thirst, had the effect of making him drowsy. 
" He gave me orders," says Mrs. Sly, " in case of his 
sleeping too long, to go and wake him ; but it was no 
use knocking at the door, for he would be in a dead sleep, 
and I had to go in and shake him." 

Among those who were captivated by the charm of 
Burnaby's manner, the brightness of his talk, the blend- 
ing in him " of strength and sweetness, of chivalrous 
daring and romantic gentleness," the bias of his character 
and the grandeur of his soul, was Mr. Justin McCarthy. 


Towards the end of 1884 they sat together at a dinner 
given in the Mansion House, and both were called upon 
for speeches. McCarthy was dissatisfied with his own 
speech, owing to his impression he had not been heard by 
half the audience, while he had no doubt that Burnaby's 
magnificent voice had penetrated to the utmost corners. 
When, however, he came to compare notes with Bur- 
naby, he found that the latter was just as dissatisfied. 

" I certainly was not heard," said Burnaby. " The 
acoustics — or say those pillars (and he pointed to them) 
must take the blame," and he was so serious that a 
listener might have taken him for an aspiring orator 
whose career Fate had blighted at its very birth. 

As we have already several times intimated, Burnaby 
never had a superior in personal courage. He was, as 
many of his friends have testified, absolute- 
68— The Blues ]y devoid of fear. We have also had occa- 
him. sion to remark on his indifference to his 
personal appearance. " He was the most 
slovenly rascal who ever lived," says his devoted friend, 
Mr. Gibson Bowles. " When in uniform he looked like 
a sack of corn on a horse. To mention only one fact, 
instead of ordering his boots from a fashionable army 
bootmaker, like the other officers, at three guineas a pair, 
he got them made in the regiment at fourteen shill- 

Nevertheless on occasion he could give himself spruce- 
ness, and at public functions when, as Colonel of the Blues, 
he carried the silver stick in front of the Queen, his great 
stature and fine bearing, set off by a magnificent uniform, 
both comported with and strikingly augmented the pomp 
of the occasion. Mr. Buckley says of him, " His mien 
and general port were magnificent, he was well propor- 
tioned even for his great height, and straight as a reed. 
Even his remarkable complexion, so un-English, ascribed 
by him to Edward I., from whom he claimed descent, 
and whose looks and stature he had — this too fixed 
attention on him." 









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Still the fact remains that as a rule Burnaby's appear- 
ance lacked smartness. 

' Evelyn," says Mr. Bowles, " was more like a soldier 
than Fred." Yet Fred was a real soldier every inch of 
him, nay a great soldier ; and it was his ambition to make 
the Blues real soldiers too — an efficient fighting force. 
He introduced among them new studies, such as survey- 
ing. He tried to interest his fellow officers in balloon- 
ing and other pursuits which he was convinced would 
be of value in any new war ; but their hearts — 
though there were honourable exceptions — were en- 
tirely with dress, playing cards, betting and horse- 
racing. They thought of nothing else. When he remon- 
strated with them, they replied sullenly: "We don't 
come here to soldier." They insisted, in short, that the 
whole duty of man is to wax his moustache, powder 
his chin, lay odds and clear fences. The want of sym- 
pathy between him and most of his colleagues was so 
pronounced that once when Mr. Bowles dined at Knights- 
bridge Barracks, not one of the officers would speak to 
Burnaby, except on matters of business. 

But how different now ! The old race has given place 
to entirely new blood. The present Blues are not a whit 
less smart looking than their predecessors, but they 
recognise that Burnaby was right, and that it is a soldier's 
business, as it should be his pleasure, to make himself 
first of all a soldier, and not only so, but a capable, and 
even a splendid soldier. Mention but Burnaby's name 
among them, and the heart beats, the eye flashes. " I 
dined last year with the Blues," remarked Mr. Bowles 
to the writer, " and the name of Burnaby was never 
off their tongues." 

Burnaby enjoyed his life at the Carlton, but though 
inundated with invitations, he showed no partiality for 
London Society. One hot July afternoon when he and 
Evelyn were walking down Piccadilly, they passed a big 
house with an awning — an indication that some fashion- 
able function was in progress. Powdered footmen 


were running hither and thither, and there were cries for 
the Duchess of So and So's and Lady So and So's carriage. 
Fred coolly remarked, " I believe I was invited to that 
entertainment, but fancy spending a grand day like this 
listening to the twaddle of every day talk ! " 

Though Fred Burnaby was so much taller than Evelyn 
the latter was often taken for his brother. Even Lord 
Randolph Churchill, who knew both so well, once fell into 
the error. It was during his visit to the States. He 
expressed his conviction at the Opera that Fred was in 
one of the boxes, and a friend having differed from him, 
he backed his opinion by a bet of five pounds — which to 
his sorrow — though not on mercenary grounds — he lost 
— the supposed Fred turning out to be Evelyn. 

Although become plethoric in body, Burnaby con- 
tinued to be mentally as active as ever. In a letter to 
his publishers, Messrs. Sampson Low, 

69— He plans a Marston & Co., dated 6th June, 1884, 
Visit to 
Timbuctoo. ne says, " I am still suffering from my left 

lung, which is congested ; and later on 
mean to make one more big travel through Morocco 
to Timbuctoo, when I will write you a book, such a 
book — Khiva nothing to it — that will make your future." 
" This journey to Timbuctoo," observes Mr. Marston, 
" was not a pleasant joke, it was a serious project of his, 
and it would, in all probability, have been undertaken 
had his life been spared." Notwithstanding his jovial- 
ity, Burnaby had a keen eye to business, and he was 
a splendid hand at striking a bargain. " How well do we 
remember," observes Mr. Marston, " his splendid and 
gigantic figure as he used to stroll into our office when 
he had some grand literary project in view, his hearty 
grip of the hand, his twinkling eye, and loud ringing 
laugh. There was a sort of magnetism about him 
which made us all jolly in his presence. «He by no means 
underestimated the value of his literary work. He 
seemed to take more pride in overcoming a publisher 
than in winning a battle. However unpromising his 


Colonel Fred Burnaby's only son. 


project might, at first sight, appear, he managed to cast 
over it such a rose-coloured glamour that he soon made 
it assume a more attractive aspect, and in this way he 
carried his point. It must be admitted that in the result 
he was generally not very far wrong, for he made his in- 
fluence to be felt for the good of his new book wherever he 
went. On one occasion when a slight inelegancy of 
style was pointed out to him, he wrote " You are prob- 
ably right. . . I write as I talk, and do not pretend 
to have any style. I have let two or three people look 
at the proofs. They are not connected with the Press, 
but are average mortals — I call them my Foolometers. 
They like the book. I think they represent the majority 
of the reading public. You will make a success." 

In October and November 1884, Burnaby's portrait 
was painted twice, each of the artists being a lady. 
Both ladies noticed that he was in poor health and low 
spirits, though he made vapid attempts at cheerfulness. 
However his old pleasantry did not quite forsake him, 
for when one of the ladies asked him to close his eyes 
so that she might take their measure with her compasses, 
he observed, " I never close my eyes, madam, in the face 
of danger." 



10th november 1884 17th january 1885. 

Dal on the Nile. 

By this time the attacks made by Burnaby and others 
upon the Government had once more forced it to action, 

and an expedition was organized with the 

70 — Yery object of carrying aid to Gordon. Lord 

Unhappy. Wolseley, who was appointed to lead it, 

often spoke eulogistically of Burnaby, 
and would gladly have had his services, but the war 
authorities were of another mind. It has been said that 
cautious officialdom dreaded Burnaby's headstrong 
bravery ; but surely the bitter attacks he had made 
on the Government were sufficient to account for its 
coldness towards him. However, Government willing, 
Government unwilling, Burnaby was resolved to get to 
the seat of war, and if possible to be one of the rescuers 
of his pattern hero, General Gordon. Having secretly 
made all the necessary preparations for his project, 
he applied for his usual winter's leave of absence, but 
the authorities, who had a premonition that somehow or 
other he intended to outwit them, allowed him one of only 
three months. As a feint he gave out that he was about 
to make for South Africa, whereupon the deluded authori- 
ties promptly wired to Cape Town forbidding his being 
allowed to take part in the operations in progress there. 
His plans matured, he first ran down to Somerby, where he 
feasted the whole parish. During the dinner an old farmer 
said to him, " I suppose you're agoing to the Soudan, 
Colonel ? " 



Burnaby parried the question with some apposite wit- 

"Be advised," said the old man, "and don't go; 
for if an Arab could hit a haystack he couldn't very 
well miss you." 

From Somerby Burnaby proceeded to Bedford, and 
after calling on Miss Rose and other old friends, to whom 
he hinted darkly that he was unlikely to see them again ; 
he visited the Rectory garden and paddock, where the 
old house and St. Peter's Church peeped at him through 
their foliage, just as they had done in his boyhood. He 
was not a sentimentalist ; but he felt as he gazed at this 
haunting picture that he was looking at it for the last 

On arriving in London he placed his papers, including 
the manuscript of an unfinished novel, to which he had 
given the name of Our Radicals, with his secretary, Mr. 
Percival Hughes. 

Little Harry Burnaby had been staying with his 
grandmother. Lady Whitshed, and while Burnaby and 
Mr. Hughes were chatting, he was brought by a footman 
to say good-bye to his father. After embracing the child, 
Burnaby turned to the footman and said, " Good-bye, 
Robert, I shan't come back ! " 

There was a great sadness upon Burnaby when he 
conversed for the last time with his old and devoted 
friend, Mr. T. Gibson Bowles, for bodily disorders, regi- 
mental and other troubles, had blackened his outlook 
and robbed him of all peace of mind. The melancholy 
of the padge-owl once more sat heavily upon him. 

" I am very unhappy," he said, " and I can't imagine 
why you care about life. I do not mean to come back." 

But at Victoria Station, when parting from Mr. 
Hughes, he was in quite a different mood. They had 
been speaking about the unfinished Our Radicals, and 
his last words as he stepped into the train, were, " I shall 
publish that novel when I return, but it will want a good 
deal of writing." 


Accompanied by his servant Buchanan,* he made his 
way first to Maloja in the Engadine, in order to bid adieu 
to Mrs. Burnaby, and some days later he arrived at 
Alexandria, where he stayed not a moment longer 
than necessity demanded, for he was in perpetual fear 
lest a telegram should arrive to stop him. Eventually 
he overtook Lord Wolseley, who, on his own responsibil- 
ity, placed him first in the Intelligence Department, 
and afterwards on his own staff. Soldiers who met him 
in the company of Lord Arthur Somerset and Sir John 
Willoughby marked his healthy look and smart bearing. 
Egypt, indeed, had given him new life and vigour. 
Ardent sun, desert air, the proximity of danger had 
scattered all his moody thoughts. He was once more 
his old self, cheery as a lark, full of quip and crank, 
revelling in life and activity. He was working for 
England, and he was riotously happy. 

On December 4th he wrote as follows to Mrs. Burnaby : 

" Wady Haifa, 

4th December, 1884. 

" I have been appointed inspecting staff officer of the 
line between Tanjour and Magrakeh on the Nile, about 
sixty miles from this. I have to superintend the moving 
of the Nile boats in that district ; and as the water is 
very shallow, most of them wall have to be carried on 
land. It will be very hard work, but at the same time 
interesting employment. I leave this to-morrow to take 
up my new duties." 

On arriving by rail at Sarras,f Burnaby hastened 
to Captain Brocklehurst's Remount Camp, and applied 
to Warrant Officer Joseph Pritchard for camels, saying 
that he was very anxious to get to the front. 

" I can give you a camel, sir," said Mr. Pritchard, 
" but I have no riding saddle." 

"Oh, a pack saddlej will do," said Burnaby. "Any- 
thing at all." 

* Storey had left his service. 

•j" Then the head of the railway from Wady Haifa. 

J A pack saddle consists of two cross pieces of wood front and back, 
tied together with side bars of wood — a very rough affair. 


Mr. Pritchard procured a pack-saddle, which he made 
as comfortable as possible with blankets; and without 
waiting for food Burnaby mounted, and, accompanied 
by Buchanan, who had also been provided with a camel, 
rode off as fast as possible. On reaching Dal he wrote 
to Mrs. Burnaby as follows : 

" Dal, 

11th December. 

" I left Wady Haifa about five days ago, went by train 
(three hours) to Sarras, and then rode on camels here. 
The camels were bad, and broke down several times.* 
We journeyed through the desert with not a blade of 
grass to be seen — nothing but white sand, high rocks, 
and black crags. Since I have been here I have been very 
busy. The Nile here is like a small pond in many places, 
and when the wind is not favourable the boats have to 
be carried for two and a half miles across the desert on 
men's shoulders. Each boat weighs eleven hundred- 
weight, and her stores three and a half tons, so this will 
give you an idea of the labour. I passed eleven boats 
through the cataract the first dav, seventeen the next, 
thirty-four yesterday, and hope to do forty more to-day. 
Our work is to spur on all the officers and men, and see 
that they work to their uttermost. This I think they do, 
and it will be very difficult for me to get more out of 
them. It does not do to overspur a willing horse. 
I sleep on the ground in a waterproof bag, and have as 
aide-de-camp Captain Gascoigne, late of my regiment, 
He has just gone for an eight hours' ride down the Nile 
to report to me on the boats coming up. A strong 
north-wind is blowing to-day, which helps us much with 
the boats. I do hope it will continue, as some four 
hundred and fifty more have to pass through the catar- 
acts very shortly." 

Among those who conversed with Burnaby at Dal 
was Mr. J. M. Cook, of Ludgate Circus. " If," said 

* See Lord Binning's narrative (chapter 19). 


Burnaby to him, " the British Government had not 
sent an expedition to Khartoum, I and my friend, Cap- 
tain Gascoigne, would have gone out alone with the in- 
tention of cutting our way through to Gordon." 

When Mr. Cook and Burnaby parted on December 12th 
the latter said, " Remember, you are under promise to 
take me back to my duties at Windsor before May the 
first." Then, turning to Mr. Cook junior, he said, 
" whether your father can indulge himself or not, you are 
to spend part of your summer holiday with me at 

His next letter to Mrs. Burnaby, dated 15th December 
(1884), runs as follows : 

" Dal, on the Nile, 

15th December, 1884. 

" I am up before daylight, getting boats and soldiers 
across the cataracts. There was a deadlock here before 
I arrived, but I have put things straight again, and the 
boats are going on to Dongola without delay. 

" There is a strange mixture of people here — Arab camel- 
drivers, black Dongolese porters, still blacker Kroomen, 
Red Indians, Canadian boatmen, Greek interpreters ; 
men from Aden, Egyptian soldiery, Scotch, Irish, and 
English Tommy Atkins — a very Babel of tongues and 
accents. The nights are cold, but on the whole I feel 
well. Sir Redvers Buller arrived this morning and ex- 
pressed himself very pleased with the work done. 
Buchanan, my servant, is well, and very useful." 

On December 24th he wrote : 

" Dal, on the Nile, 

December 24th, 1884. 

" Great excitement is prevailing at the present moment, 
as my basin, in which a black was washing my shirts, 
slipped out of his hands, and is sailing gaily down the 
Nile. Buchanan is in despair, as it cannot be replaced. 
The excitement increases. A black on board a boat close 
at hand has j umped into the river. The stream is danger- 
ous here, there being so many rocks and eddies. He is 


pursuing the basin ; he has come up to it, and landed it 

" It is extremely cold about two a.m. till the sun gets up, 
and then it is very warm in the middle of the day. I 
came back this morning after a three days' excursion 
to the Isle of Say, where I have been arranging with the 
Sheiks for the purchase of Indian corn and wood for fuel. 
I bought an Arab bedstead there for two dollars. For 
food, I live the same as the soldiers — preserved beef, 
preserved vegetables, and lime-juice, with occasionally a 
drop of rum, which is very acceptable. 

"A piece of bacon was served out to each man, and a 
pound of flour as well this morning, as it is Christmas to- 
morrow. Bacon is a great luxury here. I am going to 
dine with Lieut-Colonel Alleyne, of the Royal Artillery, 
to-morrow. He has a plum-pudding he brought with 
him from England, and I can assure you we are all looking 
forward to the consumption of that pudding very much 
like boys at school. I must have lost quite two stone the 
last month, and am all the better for it. A soldier 
stole some stores a few days ago. He has been tried 
b}<- court-martial, and given five years' penal servitude. 
In old days he would have escaped with a flogging, but 
now that it is abolished the man has to suffer five years 
instead. Poor fellow ! I expect he does not bless 
the sentimentalists who did away with flowering in the 
army. Taking everything into consideration, the men 
are behaving wonderfully well. They have very, very 
hard work, and this so-called Nile pic-nic is as severe 
a strain as well could be put on them, physically speaking. 
Yet you never hear a grumble, and they deserve the 
greatest praise. It is a responsible post which Lord 
Wolseley has given me here, with forty miles of the most 
difficult part of the river, and I am very grateful to him 
for letting me have it ; but I must say I shall be better 
pleased if he sends for me when the troops advance upon 
Khartoum. Of course, someone must be left to look 
after the line of communication, and each man hopes 


he may not be the unfortunate individual. Anyhow, 
if I am left behind I shall not outwardly grumble, al- 
though I shall inwardly swear, as Lord Wolseley has been 
so very kind." 

Two days later he wrote : 

" Dal, 

26th December. 

" Every morning I am up at six, and am out of doors 
all day, either on a camel or on my legs, superintending 
the transport of boats and boat stores up the cataracts. 
I have not seen a newspaper for the last month, and 
we all live in blissful ignorance of the outer world. I 
had my Christmas dinner last night with Colonel Alleyne. 
Party : Lord Charles Beresford, Captain Gascoigne, and 
self. Dinner : Preserved pea soup, some ration beef, 
and a plum-pudding, sent out from England, which was 
done great justice to, the dinner being washed down by 
libations of whisky and brandy, mixed with Nile water. 
As someone observed, the Nile tastes strongly of whisky 
after six p.m. One, joking about the expedition and its 
difficulties, remarked that there had been no such expedi- 
tion since Hannibal tried to cross the Alps in a boat. 
I expect to have got the last boat load of soldiers through 
here by the second of next month, and then there will be 
very little for me to do, and I hope to be sent on." 

The next letter, a treasure indeed, for it is the last, 

was written in pencil at Dal in the quiet and solitude of 

the night. On the envelope, which was 

71— His Last addressed to Mrs. Fred Burnaby, Hotel 

Dec, 1884. Belvedere, Davos Platz, Switzerland, was 

written " On active service. No stamps. 

Pay at other end. F. Burnaby, Col." The letter itself, 

which is on yellow paper, ruled with faint blue lines, 

runs : 

" Dal, on the Nile, 

Dec. 28th, 1884, 8 p.m. 
" My darling Lizzie, 

"Have just received orders to move on to Korti, a 


place between Debbah and Merani, where Colonel 
Stewart was killed — about 230 miles from this. I start 
to-morrow morning. Have received no letters from you 
or anyone since the 17th of last month. They will 
doubtless all turn up in time. Camels travel slowly, 
so I shall not reach Korti for ten days. Am very well. 
Cold and cough disappeared — thanks to the Arab bed- 
stead, which keeps my middle-aged bones off the ground. 
Buchanan very well and very useful. Lord Charles 
Beresford left this for Korti, the day before yesterday. 
I hope to catch him up. Weather very cold at night 
and early morning, but warm though with a cold wind in 
the middle of the day. 

" P. S.— Excuse scrawl. A man arrived with some jam 
yesterday. Three shillings a pot he charged. 7|d. for 
the same article in the Brompton Road. I bought 
twelve pots. Dreadful extravagance, but jam is a great 
luxury here. 

Believe me, my darling wife, 
Your veiy affectionate husband, 


On January 8th he reached Korti, where he learnt, to 
his joy, that a few days previous an Arab messenger 
had brought in a slip of paper, some two inches square, 
containing the following cheery message, " Khartoum 
all right. December 14th. C. G. Gordon." The mes- 
senger had added that Gordon looked well, while his 
men, who knew that Lord Wolseley was advancing to 
their aid, were in excellent spirits. Next morning Sir 
Redvers Buller, as Chief of the staff, placed Burnaby in 
charge of a convoy of grain, which was to be taken to 
Gadkul, and instructed him to join General Stewart's 
column if possible. He overtook the column at Gadkul 
very early in the morning of January 13th, and while 
handing over the convoy to Mr. Pritchard (the official 
from whom he had obtained his camel at Sarras), he en- 
quired, " Am I in time for the fighting ? " 


" Oh yes," was the reply, " we shall not march out 
till four." 

The advance commenced at the time expected, and 
on the evening of the 15th a halt was made near a high 

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From a sketch bv Lieutenant-Colonel Lord Binning. 


17th january 1885. 

The Battle of Abou Klea. 

Next morning the column started again before day- 
break, but owing to the difficulty of carrying forage, 
only a few of the officers, including Sir 

72_ J h / Ni l ht Herbert Stewart, Lord Airlie, and Frank 
before the „. n -,■■**■, 

Battle. Khodes, were mounted. Burnaby was on a 

grey polo pony named Moses, which had 

been lent him by Lieutenant Percival Marling.* Lord 

Charles Beresford rode a mule, his blue- jackets were on 

camels, but the rest were on foot. Would they reach 

Khartoum in time to save Gordon ? That was the great 

question. They halted some four hundred yards from 

the foot of the bleak and rugged ridge which forms part 

of the caravan route to Abou Klea ; and then General 

Stewart and his staff, including Colonel Burnaby, went 

forward to reconnoitre. On topping the ridge they could 

see, by aid of their glasses, the army of the enemy 

so disposed as to dispute the further advance of the 

column ; and, having returned to his men, the General 

gave the order for a zerebaf to be formed, while pickets 

were placed on the hills. The soldiers slept in the 

zereba in their great coats with bayonets fixed ; for during 

the whole of the night could be heard the distant sound 

of the tom-tom, while the bullets of the enemy hissed 

overhead, or dropped into the square, mortally wounding 

several men, including Lord St. Vincent of the 16th 

* Afterwards V.C., C.B., and Colonel commanding 18th (Victoria Mary 
Princess of Wales's Own) Hussars. 

t An enclosure the sides of which are formed of prickly brushwood, 
biscuit boxes, saddles, &c. 



Lancers. Twice during the night the pickets were driven 
in and the men called to arms. 

Burnaby, who wore a big pilot jacket lined with 
astrakhan, had been appointed by General Stewart 
73— Chats with to the command of the left flank and rear 

Mr. Bennet Bur- f ^g square, and he virtually discharged 
leigh, Mr. Melton ,,.„,.,. , „, f. 

Prior and Lord the duties 01 a brigadier general, lo Mr. 

Binning. Bennet Burleigh, who was by his side dur- 
ing the earlier part of the night, he expressed his satisfac- 
tion at having arrived in time for the approaching 
battle. " I have got to that stage of life," he observed, 
" when the two things that interest me most are war and 
politics ; and I am equally exhilarated and happy whe- 
ther holding up to odium an unworthy politician or fight- 
ing against my country's foes. I shall take up politics 
again on my return, for, next to war and fighting, there 
is more fire and go in that than in anything else. Be- 
sides, wars are going out of fashion. Politics give me a 
course and stir my blood." 

They talked together by the hour, joking and laughing 
— Burnaby championing the Tory cause, Burleigh, the 
Social Democratic ; indeed, General Stewart, more than 
once, asked them to be silent. 

" Do you think," said Captain Hippesley,* to Burnaby, 
" the enemy will come on and attack our entrench- 
ment ? " 

c ' No such luck," replied Burnaby. " We shall have 
to go forward and attack them " — and then, his mind 
running on the intolerable thirst from which the column 
had suffered, and the immense hordes of the enemy, he 
added, " At home it is wine and women, but out here, 
from what I can see, it's men and water, "f 

A little later, however, he felt convinced that the enemy 
would make an attack, and having quitted his compan- 
ions, he joined General Stewart, with whom he visited 
the various corps in the zereba, as well as the small posts 

* Of the Royal Scots Greys. 

f Heard by George Murray, of the Scots Greys, who was passing. 



















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23rd January, 1885. 
Drawn by E. ('. Mountfort. 


which had been made with the aid of biscuit boxes. 
Addressing Corporal J. R. Payne as a senior non-com- 
missioned officer,* he said, "Are your men awake? 
Is their ammunition ready ? " And on receiving a satis- 
factory reply, he passed to another company, to whom 
he said " Don't fire, men, until you see the whites of 
their eyes." 

A little later Mr. Burleigh learnt that Burnaby had 
been appointed by General Wolseley second in com- 
mand — that is next to General Stewart — and that on 
reaching Metamneh, he was to be named governor 
of the town. Early in the morning Burnaby rode up to 
Lord Cochrane (now Lord Dundonald), whose men — 
a squadron of the heavy camel corps, made up of the 1st 
and 2nd Life Guards — occupied a slight hollow, and asked 
whether he might put his mount among them. While 
Lord Cochrane and Burnaby were sitting together on 
some rising ground, and looking in the direction of the 
enemy, a bullet whistled between them and towards some 
men who were lying behind, one of whom was named 
Murray.f After remarking that it was a close shave. 
Lord Cochrane asked the men for the bullet, but 
Murray replied, " I think, sir, I have the best right to it, 
as it has gone through my pocket " ; so he kept it. 
Shortly afterwards someone said, " They seem to be 
hitting a good many of our men " ; on which Colonel 
Burnaby observed, " You can't make omelets without 
breaking eggs." 

A few minutes later while he was chatting with another 
officer and Mr. Melton Prior, the bullets of the enemy 
again came unpleasantly near. " The rascals are firing 
at us from those hills on the right," said the officer as a 
bullet whistled between him and Burnaby. " We'd 
better separate a little." 

*J. R. Payne was Corporal in charge of 18 men No. 3 section C (or 
Rifle) company. 

t Probably the Thomas Murray mentioned later as writing to Burnaby's 


With a smile, Burnaby observed, " We may as well be 
killed here now, as elsewhere later on." 

About 7 in the morning General Stewart ordered an 
advance, and gave instructions to drive the enemy 
from the wells. The column left the zereba at 7.30, and 
about 9 the bugle sounded the halt. A square was formed 
with the Guards in front, the Mounted Infantry on the 
left, the Sussex Regiment on the right, and the Naval 
Brigade and the Heavy Cavalry in the rear, while in the 
centre were the camels carrying ammunition and litters 
for the wounded, and the Gardner guns. A movement 
forward was then made, amid a fusillade from the hills, 
but although the enemy had excellent weapons, namely, 
Remingtons, taken from Hicks Pasha's slaughtered 
army, they were bad marksmen, most of the bullets 
going too high. 

Reports then came in that the enemy's scouts were seen 
coming round the hills above the left flank ; and the 
19th Hussars were sent forward to drive them back. 

" Where's your double-barrelled shot gun ? " enquired 
Mr. Burleigh of Burnaby. 

" Oh," was the reply. " As the sentimentalists and 
their friends at home made such an outcry on account 
of my using it at El Teb, I have handed it over to my 

" That was a mistake," said Mr. Burleigh, " I should 

have seen them d -d first. These cruel devils of 

dervishes give no quarter. It is not even the sword of 
Mahomet, but defilement and butchery in the name 
of the Mahdi. So it's their lives or ours." 

"It is too late now," said Burnaby. " I must take 
my chance." 

In the meantime, owing to the fact that many of the 
camels had been wounded, the rear of the square was un- 
able to keep pace with the front, consequently a gap was 
left — a condition of affairs which the officers tried in vain 
to remedy, and while the British were in this predicament, 
the Arab forces poured over the mountains like swarms of 

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bees. Nearer and nearer they approached, and with 
banners waving, tom-toms beating, and the tremendous 
shout of " Allah Akhbah," they poured towards the gap 
in the square, sweeping over the undulating ground that 
lay in their path like a vast wave of black surf. There 
must have been fifteen thousand of them : enormous 
Sheikhs in patched jibbehs, Dervishes, ferocious thick- 
necked Baggara from the Nuba plains, tremendous black 
woolly-haired warriors, with iron rings on wrist and neck, 
two edged swords and shields of crocodile hide, Emirs on 
horseback ; in short, representatives apparently of every 
tribe and nation in the Soudan. The British tried their 
utmost to close the gap, the skirmishers fell back, while 
the rifles in the square kept up a continuous fire, and the 
shrapnel guns* belched forth their deadly streams. 
General Stewart moved about the left flank, Colonel 
Burnaby was near the gap, and Lord Cochrane and Lieut- 
enant-Colonel Lord Binning, were distant from him only 
a few yards. The rifles of the Guards and the Mounted 
Infantry mowed down the black masses of the enemy 
like corn, but those in the rear leaped over the piles of 
dead, many of them reaching the square, so there was 
much hand to hand fighting. To add to the terrible con- 
fusion, in the midst of the struggle part of the British 
ammunition caught fire, so there was at once a crackling 
of boxes and a continuous explosion of cartridges behind 
our soldiers, and a furious enemy in front ; but even 
this was not all, for the Gardner guns jammed, and the 
soldiers' bayonets, being too long, became softened by 
the continuous firing, and consequently lost their 

Colonel Burnaby, who still rode the pony, Moses, 

had restrained his own command as long as possible. 

" Don't fire yet," he shouted, " you'll hit 

74 —Death of our men | " meaning the skirmishers, who 
Burnaby 17th . » ' 

Jan., 1885. were still pouring in ; and the toe was 

within 150 yards when the first volley was 

* There were two batteries of Artillery in the square — one English one 


fired from those near the gap. The left flank of the square 
then fell back a few feet, and there was some confusion. 
Colonel Burnaby, instead of falling back with the others, 
stood his ground, and then seeing some skirmishers being 
struck down by the Arabs he dashed to their rescue, 
doing deadly execution with his revolver and a huge 
sword. As he rode forward a Sheikh charged him on 
horseback, only, however, to fall by an English bullet. 
But behind the Sheikh were spearmen, and one of them, 
suddenly dashing at Burnaby, thrust a spear blade into 
his throat. Checking his pony, and pulling it backward, 
Burnaby leant forward in his saddle and parried the rapid 
and ferocious thrusts, but the length of the Moslem's 
weapon — eight feet — put it out of his power to retaliate 
effectually. Still he fenced smartly, and there was a 
smile on his features as he drove off the man's awkward 
points. At this moment another Arab ran his spear 
into the Colonel's right shoulder, but he had scarce- 
ly done so before he was bayoneted by a young soldier 
named Laporte. In the confusion Burnaby received 
another throat wound from the first Arab, causing him 
to fall from his saddle, and half a dozen Arabs closed on 
him. In spite of the wounds he leapt to his feet, sword 
in hand, and slashed at his foes, while Sir William Gordon 
Cumming, and young Corporal Mackintosh, of the Blues, 
who was instantly cut down by an Arab, rushed courage- 
ously to his assistance. Half a dozen Arabs were now 
about Burnaby ; he struck at them ' ' with the wild strokes 
of a proud brave man dying hard, but he was quickly 
overborne,"* and he fell bleeding, helpless and dying 
into the arms of his servant Buchanan, who had just 
reached the spot. Private Wood, of the Grenadier 
Guards, ran out, raised his head, and offered him some 

" No, my man," said Burnaby, pushing back the 
bottle. " Look after yourself." 

* Mr. Bennet Burleigh. 

Colonel Burnaby's only brother. 


" Oh, Colonel, I fear I can say no more than God bless 
you," said Wood. 

In that fearful melee fell also Captain Darley,* Lieut- 
enants Wolfef and De Lisle % and Majors Atherton|| and 
Carmichael,§ all of whom had found themselves like 
Burnaby outside the square — brave men every one. 
These events took place in even less time than it has 
taken to describe them ; and then the whole thing 
was blotted out by the masses of the enemy, the scene 
becoming, to use Lord Dundonald's words, a veritable 
pandemonium — every man fighting for dear life. In the 
confusion a few of the Arabs, including a colossus on 
horseback, broke into the square, but they were in- 
stantly despatched. General Stewart, whose horse 
was killed under him, had a narrow escape. Death and 
havoc reigned. The strained tension of the situation 
lasted some ten minutes, when, at last, the Arabs, find- 
ing all their efforts in vain, began to turn and ride off 
the field. With cheer upon cheer the English hailed 
their victory, dearly won as it had been, and volley 
after volley was sent into the flying foe. 

Terribly wounded as Burnaby was, he still lived, 
though life was fast ebbing away ; among the sounds that 
last reached his ears were the cries of victory. At that 
moment Lord Binning ran up and knelt at his side. 
Burnaby opened his eyes, gently pressed his comrade's 
hand, and was gone. 

And there he lay on this fatal field — a huge Soudanese 
spear with a blade sixteen inches long and four wide, 
covered with blood, crossing his body — probably the 
weapon that gave him his death wound. Poor Moses 
was found hard by stabbed in a dozen places. 

There were also slain at Abou Klea, Major Gough, of the 

* 4th Dragoon Guards. 

t Scots Greys. 

J Naval Brigade. 

||5th Dragoon Guards. 

§5th Lancers. 

It is now in the possession of Colonel Marling 



Royal Dragoons, Lieutenant Law, 4th Dragoon Guards, 
and Lieutenant Pigott, of the Naval Brigade, while 
Major Dickson and Lord Airlie were wounded. 

Burnaby was buried about seven o'clock on the morn- 
ing after the battle in a grave on some rising ground 
twenty yards north of the spot where he fell, and close 
beside the other officers and men killed in the battle, 
the burial service being read by Lord Charles Beresford. 
The spot was marked by a low stone wall and a large 
mound of stones.* The immense hordes of dead Arabs 
were, by necessity, left unburied. Round the arms of 
the corpses were found leathern bands supporting a little 
case containing a prayer in Arabic, composed by the 
Mahdi, who had declared that it would convert the 
British bullets into water. For long after the fight a 
great canopy of smoke hung over the battlefield, and 
vultures pounced upon the dead camels immediately 
they were deserted. 

A small detachment having been left with the wounded, 
the British forces pressed on, and four days later they 
encountered the Arabs again at Abu Kru or Gubat near 
Metammeh, where Sir Herbert Stewart received a wound 
which a few days laterf proved fatal ; and the chief 
command fell to Colonel Sir Charles Wilson. Among 
others who fell at Gubat were Mr. Cameron, the corres- 
pondent of The Standard and Mr. St. Leger Herbert, 
correspondent of The Morning Post, who are said to have 
been killed by the same bullet. They were borne to their 
grave by Mr. Burleigh, of the Daily Telegraph, Mr. F. 
Villiers, of the Graphic, Mr. Melton Prior, of the Illus- 
trated London News, Mr. H. H. S. Pearse, of the Daily 
News, Mr. Charles Williams, of the Daily Chronicle, and 
other sympathisers. 

An attempt was made by Sir Charles Wilson to reach 
Khartoum by steamer, but on receiving the sad intellig- 
ence that Khartoum had fallen into the hands of the 

♦Letter from Thomas Murray (Sergeant Gds. Camel Regiment) to 
Burnaby 's relatives. 
f He died on Feb. 16th. 

Royal Scots Greys. 


Mahdi, and that Gordon was dead,* he relinquished the 
attempt, and returned with his wearied and ragged sol- 
diers to the base at Korti, where the glowing praise 
which they heard from the lips of Lord Wolseley more 
than recompensed them for their sufferings. 

" You have certainly done your best," he said, " and 
though you cannot get into Khartoum this year, you will 

As everyone knows, however, it took longer than Lord 
Wolseley anticipated. It was not until December 1899, 
that British troops, under Kitchener, after defeating the 
Mahdi'sf successor, at the battle of Omdurman, finally 
reached Khartoum, and put a period to the wasteful and 
inhuman rule of Khalifa and Dervish. 

* He was slain on Jan. 26th. 

I The Mahdi died 22nd June, 1885. He was succeeded by the Khalifa 


An Independent Account of the Battle of Abou 


[Written specially for this work by Lieutenant- Colonel 

Lord Binning.] 

On the 13th January, 1885, the Camel Corps had 

reached Gadkul Wells, some 96 miles from our starting 

point at Korti : and it was here that Colonel 

75- The Bravest B urnaby overtook us. 
Man in Eng- J 

land dying. Before starting he had met with an 

accident which might have proved serious. 

He had gone to Captain, now Colonel, Brocklehurst's 

remount camp to select camels for his journey, and it was 

characteristic of him that he insisted on mounting a wild 

half-broken animal against which he was warned, as 

dangerous to ride. The brute proceeded to kick himself 

clean out of the saddle, throwing Burnaby from a great 

height to the ground. It was a wonder he was not killed ; 

as it was he was severely shaken, and it was some time 

before he recovered sufficiently to proceed. 

The column resumed its march on the 14th, and on 
that day our scouts reported signs of the enemy in front. 
So when on the evening of the 15th we halted near a high 
hill, Jebel el Sergain, it had become pretty certain that 
we were in for some fighting. 

We bivouacked for a few hours to wait for the moon to 
rise, and it was here that the Colonel sent for me. I 
found him at his evening meal, and in high spirits at the 
prospect of fighting. Bennet Burleigh and Williams, 
of the Chronicle, were with him, and to them he was de- 
tailing the steps he intended to take to maintain order 



and discipline in Metammeh when we arrived there, 
it being understood that he was to be appointed governor 
of the place. After some conversation and speculation 
as to the force we were likely to encounter, the Colonel 
turned laughingly to me and said, " I want you to give 
the men a message. Tell them I shall be disappointed 
if each of them does not account for at least six of the 
enemy to-morrow." The fight, however, was not des- 
tined to be next day. I delivered the message, and the 
men were delighted. 

Starting again before daylight on the 16th, the enemy's 
position was located about noon some four miles to our 
front. Sir Herbert Stewart, finding they were in great 
force, decided to postpone the attack till next day. 

Meanwhile we constructed a rough zereba for camels 
and baggage, and before sunset a long low wall had been 
quickly thrown up, behind which we got what sleep we 

The night was bitterly cold, and very dark ; small 
bodies of the enemy's riflemen crept up to the hills on 
our right flank, and along the nullahs to our front, 
and kept up an intermittent fire all night ; and though 
the casualties were not many it was harassing to the 
men. Moreover the noise of the tom-toms, borne down 
the breeze, seemed occasionally, to overstrained nerves, 
surprisingly close, and on more than one occasion the 
whole force, right down the line, stood simultaneously 
to their posts, with ba\^onets fixed and eyes peering into 
the darkness. 

It was during one of these alarms that from the direc- 
tion of the enemy we heard the tramp of a horse's feet 
on the gravel advancing towards us, and, curiously 
enough, straight to our detachment. The end of a cigar 
glowed in the darkness, and with an instinctive knowledge 
of his man, one of my troopers exclaimed, " It must be 
the Colonel." He was right, it was Burnaby returning 
from a solitary visit of observation to the enemy's lines. 
I got over the wall and went up to him, and explained 


the state of affairs, and how annoying it was that my 
men could not go to sleep. He laughed his cheery laugh. 
" Ah ! never mind," he said, " boys will be boys." Some- 
what shamefacedly the word was passed down the line, 
and there were no more alarms that night. These were 
the last words I was ever to hear him speak. 

It w r as a relief when morning came at last — the dawn 
of Abou Klea, which was to be Burnaby's last fight ; 
and breakfastless the column fell in to advance in the 
square at 7 a.m. As a matter of fact we did not move 
off until an hour and a half later, and even then early 
casualties began to come thick, Majors Gough and Dick- 
son, and Lieutenants Beech and Lyall being hit before 
the advance began. 

It looked about now as if the tribesmen intended to 
come on ; their main body advanced towards us down 
the centre of the valley, and then halted about a mile off. 
The war-drums were sounding and banners flying, 
whilst thousands of spear heads glittered in the morning 

As they remained halted Sir Herbert Stewart deter- 
mined to attack, and taking ground to the right along the 
gravelly ridges, so as to avoid the broken ground and 
nullahs in front, the square, approximately 1200 strong, 
moved off in the following formation. The guards led 
the way with Mounted Infantry and Heavy Camel Corps 
on left face, the remainder of the Heavy Camel Corps and 
Naval Brigade in the rear face, and the Sussex regiment 
on the right. Undoubtedly an initial mistake, which 
was to cost us dear later on, was made in crowding too 
many camels laden with ammunition, water and cacolets* 
for the wounded into so small a square, offering as they 
did a conspicious mark for the enemy's sharp-shooters. 
It was not long before almost every camel was hit, and the 
poor brutes labouring slowly along hampered our move- 
ments considerably, and gave the rear face of the square 
in which we were marching infinite trouble to keep closed 

* Litters. 


up. The sun was now very hot overhead, and the advance 
tedious. The Kordofan hunters, hidden on the heights 
on our right, kept up a pretty accurate fire, though we 
never saw a man. The surgeons were kept busy, and 
during the frequent halts to pick up the wounded, 
the square was ordered to lie down and fire volleys in the 
direction of the invisible foe. 

Away in the distance the hills to our left were black 
with Arabs, apparently waiting the issue of the struggle. 
But in the meantime the main fighting body of the enemy 
had apparently retired before us, and was taking cover 
in the nullahs and scrubby ground below us. Suddenly 
about a quarter of a mile from us, and on our left front, 
two large bodies of the enemy appeared, banners flying, 
and drums beating, apparently moving slowly off in the 
direction of Berber. The square, which had been halted, 
received immediate orders to advance on to a favourable 
ridge and fire volleys on the retreating masses. The 
order was eagerly obeyed, and three sides of the square 
at once advanced. Meanwhile many of the wounded 
camels had taken the opportunity to lie down, and, in 
spite of our efforts to urge them forward, our further 
advance was blocked, and a gap of some sixty to eighty 
yards speedily established between the rear face and the 
remainder of the square. 

It was at this moment that almost at our feet a force 
of Dervishes, estimated at between three and four 
thousand strong, sprang up as if from the bowels of the 
earth, and headed by their Emirs and Baggara horsemen, 
charged the left face of the square. 

Swiftly and with almost appalling silence, they came on, 
and then suddenly espying the weak spot in our defence, 
they wheeled like a flock of pigeons and made for the 
gap on our left rear. At the same moment the two 
bodies we had already seen wheeled about and joined in 
the charge. Our men, though completely taken by sur- 
prise, fell back steadily in an endeavour to close the 
rear face. I could see Burnaby on his pony riding to 


and fro, and urging our men to fall back quickly, but 
our riflemen, who were out skirmishing, masked our fire, 
and it was not until the last of them had managed to crawl 
in on their hands and knees, to avoid the bullets of our 
own men, that an effective fire could be brought to bear. 
It was then too late, for in those few moments the 
mischief had been done, and the Dervishes were into 
the square stabbing right and left, and it was at that 
corner that our greatest loss took place. 

I hope I may be pardoned for having thus gone into 
the details of a fight which though, in the nature of events 
has been long forgotten by the British public, will 
never be forgotten by those who were there, but I have 
done so because an idea existed, and still exists in some 
quarters, that the square was broken by the Arab rush. 
The square was not broken, because as I have shown, 
and I had every opportunity of judging at the time of the 
onslaught, there was no square to break, and nothing but 
the steadiness and magnificent physique of the picked 
men of the British army could have saved a complete 
disaster — it was a soldier's fight. 

It is not easy, nor is it necessary, to describe the next 
few minutes ; probably every man who was there had 
some different impression as to what actually took place, 
for in the melee which ensued, the square, driven in by 
sheer force of numbers, barely held its ground. 

Friend and foe were inextricably mixed, men were 
carried off their feet in the rush, and every man was fight- 
ing for his own hand and his life. 

For a moment through the smoke I caught a glimpse 
of Burnaby, his arm outstretched, his four-barrelled 
Lancaster pistol in his hand. It was only a momentary 
glimpse, and I did not see him again until all was over. 
For a few moments the issue hung in the balance, but the 
splendid discipline of the Guards and Mounted Infantry 
came to the assistance of their hard-pressed comrades 
of the Heavy Camel Corps. Wheeling up, they poured a 
terrific hail of bullets into the charging masses. While at 


the same time the rear ranks facing about helped to clear 
the interior of the square of the enemy. Beneath 
the iron storm the Dervish hosts staggered, faltered, 
and finally gave way. 

As the tide turned in our favour a tremendous cheer 
went up from our men, and the Dervishes slowly and 
sullenly retired, even then unwilling to admit defeat. 
I made my way as best I could to the spot where last 
I had seen the Colonel, foreboding in my heart. But I 
was not the first to find him. A young private, in the 
Bays, a mere lad, was already beside him, endeavouring 
to support his head on his knee. The lad's genuine grief, 
with tears running down his cheeks, was as touching as 
were his simple words : " Oh ! sir ; here is the bravest 
man in England dying, and no one to help him." It was 
too true, a glance showed that he was past help. A spear 
had inflicted a terrible wound on the right side of his neck 
and throat, and his skull had been cleft by a blow 
from a two-handed sword — probably as he fell forward 
on his pony's neck. Either wound would have proved 
mortal. The marvel was that he was still alive. As 
I took his hand, a feeble pressure, and a faint look of 
recognition in his eyes, told me he still breathed, but life 
was ebbing fast, and it was only a matter of a few mo- 
ments before he was gone. Amid the slain Arabs he lay 
there, a veritable Colossus, and alone of the dead his face 
wore the composed and placid smile of one who had been 
suddenly called away in the midst of a congenial and 
favourite occupation ; as undoubtedly was the case. 

He was killed some thirty yards from the square, and 
no friendly form lay near him, save one, for under a pile 
of dead fanatics, we found the body, scarce recognisable, 
of Corporal Mackintosh, of my detachment, who had 
perished in a gallant attempt to save his Colonel. 

We covered up the latter with a Union Jack, possibly 
the same flag he had hoped to see float over Metammeh, 
and that afternoon he was buried on the scene of his 


last fight, beside the other fallen officers of the Heavy 
Camel Corps. 

A cairn of stones was subsequently erected over his 
grave, and I believe remains to this day undisturbed. 

It has been announced that Burnaby met his death 
by being taken unawares outside the Square. This we 
shall never know, but personally I am strongly of opinion 
that this was not so. 

Throughout his career his reckless daring had never 
conformed to the most ordinary dictates of prudence, 
and I cannot imagine him withdrawing into a square like 
other men, even in the face of certain and imminent 
death. This was not his first experience of a dervish 
rush, and I am convinced that he remained outside by 
choice, the fighting lust strong in him, only too eager to 
match his strength against the oncoming hordes, and 
even though he paid for his venture with his life, we may 
be certain that his end was the one he would have chosen. 
It is not too much to say that in our little force 
Burnaby's death caused a feeling nearly akin to constern- 
ation. In my own detachment many of the men sat 
down and cried. We knew that in the event of anything 
happening to Sir Herbert Stewart, he carried in his pocket 
orders to take over the command, and when three days 
later at Abu Kru that gallant officer received his mortal 
wound, the thought uppermost in the minds of many of 
the men in the tiny square, fighting their desperate way 
to the Nile, must have been — " If only Burnaby were 
with us to-day ! " 

It would be affectation to pretend that amongst the 

senior officers in his regiment, Burnaby was altogether 

popular. It is no disparagement to his 

76— Other memory to say so. In the nature of 

Reminiscences, things it could not be otherwise. Living 

his Bohemian life entirely aloof, absolutely 

regardless of conventionalities, either in the matter of 

dress, or choice of friends, he neither participated in their 

pursuits nor affected the same society — but amongst us 


juniors his kindly disposition, and invariable readiness 
to help a youngster, made him uniformly popular, and 
by the men it is not too much to say that he was absol- 
utely worshipped. His colossal strength, and the tales 
of his prowess and recklessness, whether ballooning or 
fighting in distant lands, appealed vividly to the imagina- 
tion of the big troopers, not less than the unvarying up- 
rightness and fairness of his rule as commanding officer ; 
and I am convinced that the imagination could not con- 
ceive of any enterprise, however desperate, in which the 
Blues would not have followed their Colonel as one 

Burnaby was the first to introduce into the cavalry 
the system of silent drill by signal, now of course for a 
long time universally adopted, and I well remember 
one occasion on the Fox Hills when Sir Archibald Alison 
was present being anxious to see the new system. 

After drilling the regiment for some time, Burnaby 
fell out all the officers and proceeded to perform a number 
of evolutions at a smart gallop, which were carried out 
in excellent order ; indeed I am not at all sure that the 
regiment did not drill better without us ! 

One little incident I recollect, which immensely 
amused the men at the time. We were engaged in 
a football match on the green inside Windsor Cavalry 
Barracks, and the verandahs were crowded with onlook- 
ers, as the Colonel, dressed for London in frock coat and 
tall hat, with a cigar in his mouth, came out of the officers' 
quarters and proceeded slowly across a corner of the 
ground, apparently oblivious of the fact that a match 
was in progress at the time. At this moment our full 
back, a gigantic Yorkshire-man named Bates, who must 
have weighed nearer fifteen than fourteen stone, charging 
impetuously for the ball, dashed full into Burnaby. The 
impact was terrific, but while the Tyke, hurled backwards 
by the shock, as though he had collided with a mountain, 
lay gasping on the ground, neither Burnaby's hat nor the 
angle of his cigar was in the smallest degree disturbed, 


in fact he scarcely seemed to realise that a collision had 
taken place. When he did so he removed his cigar 
from his mouth, and with his pleasant smile said, " Dear 
me, I do hope I am not interfering with the game." The 
shout of delight which went up from the verandahs 
was a thing to remember. 

I have been asked to express an opinion as to Colonel 
Burnaby's qualities as a cavalry soldier. This is a 
delicate and rather difficult question to answer. As a 
cavalry leader, he was undoubtedly handicapped by his 
great weight ; at the same time it was surprising how 
quickly he managed to get about on his big horses. 

A great friend of his, a literary man, wrote of him in 
an obituary notice, " That he was more fitted by nature 
to be the inspired leader of Turkoman hordes than the 
colonel of a crack regiment of Household Cavalry." 
There may be some truth in this — at the same time 
Burnaby was a magnificent drill, and an excellent judge 
of men, with a lightning grasp of a situation, and the 
promptitude to act upon it. He was absolutely fearless 
of responsibility, and with his reckless courage and the 
power of inspiring not only the confidence, but the devo- 
tion of those who served under him, it is impossible 
to say how far he might not have gone as a cavalry 

I give my opinion for what it is worth. One thing 
I do know, which is that by his death I lost a good friend, 
and the empire one of the most notable soldiers of our 



Throughout England the news of Burnaby's death 
was received with profound regret. The whole nation 
was moved. The Queen expressed her 
77— Reception sympathy with Mrs. Burnaby by telegram, 
° f England. m the Prince and Princess of Wales wrote 
most kind and sympathetic letters to the 
Rev. Evelyn Burnaby, who also received resolutions of 
condolence from the corporations of Bedford, Birming- 
ham, Leicester, Wolverhampton, and many other towns, 
as well as from the Balloon Society. 

The Blues were thrilled by the tragic news, and they 
recognised, as they had never recognised before, the true 
worth of the greatest of their colonels. 

" We all looked upon him as a gallant soldier," says 
the Earl of Erroll,* " and were proud of the way in which 
he died." The people of Bedford decided, at a meeting 
convened by the Mayor, Mr. Joshua Hawkins, to place 
to his memory a memorial window in St. Peter's Church, 
and to build a Volunteer Drill Hall. At Birmingham his 
memory was honoured by the erection in St. Philip 'sf 
churchyard of an obelisk, with four panels exihibiting a 
bust of Burnaby, and the words : " Khiva 1875," 
" Abou Klea 1885." The whole British Press, Liberal 
as well as Conservative, paid a tribute to the dead hero. 
Punch, in some feeling lines commencing, ' Brave 
Burnaby down!" called him "a latter-day Paladin," 
" who death had so often affronted before," and declared 
his story to be as romantic as Roland's. Mr. Chamber- 
lain, speaking on January 29th at Birmingham, said, 

* Who served sixteen years in tne regiment with Burnaby. 
f The cathedral church. 



" We all share the deep regret which is felt in Birmingham 
at the death at the moment of victory of Colonel Burn- 
aby, who was lately our Conservative opponent. In the 
presence of such a calamity political controversies are 
hushed, and we have only to deplore the loss of as brave 
a soldier as ever wore the British uniform." A Liberal 
audience signified its approval of this eulogy by loud 
cheers. Nor were Colonel Burnaby's foreign friends less 
sympathetic — Don Carlos, Duke of Madrid, " received 
the news of his death with profound regret." Spain 
and Italy mourned with England. 

Burnaby had died at the early age of 42, yet how 
very many incidents he had crowded into that short 
adventurous life led in the barrack, in the 
78- A Retrospect, aerostat, on the platform, in foreign lands, 
amid seething mobs and trampling armies. 
One recalls those schooldays at Bedford, Harrow, Oswes- 
try, and Dresden, his strenuous early career in the 
Blues, his ascent m that moving hell, the Montgolfier 
balloon of M. Godard, his travels and adventures in Spain, 
his Rides to Khiva and through Asia Minor, the part he 
took in the masterly retreat over the Rodolphe Moun- 
tains, his doughty championship of Conservatism at 
Birmingham, his balloon voyage across the channel, 
the battles of El Teb, and finally that last awful field 
where he found a soldier's grave. 

Twenty -three years after his death we may look round 

and enquire which of his relatives, friends and intimate 

acquaintances are still living. One thinks 

friend* and first of Mrs. Fred Burnaby (now Mrs. 
intimate Aubrey Le Blond), who is well known as 
CCS * an author. To The High Alps in Winter, 
we have already referred. Since Colonel Burnaby's 
death she has written many other works,* and con- 
tributed to most of the leading magazines. Her whole 

*Hi?h Life and Towers of Silence 1886, My Home in the Alps 1892, Hints on 
Snow Photography 1895, Cities and Sights of Spain, 1899 (two editions) True 
Tales of Mountain Adventure, 1903 (four editions), Adventures on the Roof of the 
World, 1904 (two editions), The Story of an Alpine Winter 1908. She is 
illustrator of The Art of Garden Design in Italy by H. Inigo Triggs. 


soul is in matters Alpine. Her own adventures have 
been strange and various, but in several of her books — 
and she has a vivid pen — she has dealt with the experi- 
ences of other climbers ; and in my dreams, after reading 
them, I have spent hours mewed up in icy caves, I have 
tumbled down bottomless precipices, I have been saved 
by a hair's breath, I have walked on long ridges of ice 
that looked like razor edges, I have been licked up by 
avalanches, I have discovered my remains — that is to say, 
a bone and a few buttons — fifty years after my death, 
I have babbled of ice, snow, glacier, crevasse and berg- 
schrund — whatever that might be. It is not to be sup- 
posed, however, that my experiences will deter anyone 
from reading Mrs. Le Blond's books. All who have 
visited Switzerland, all who want to visit it, and all who 
love to hear of exciting adventures, will seek after them 
and read them — nightmare or no nightmare. 

Colonel Burnaby's son, Harry Arthur Gustavus St. 
Vincent, now resides at Brighton, and he is a member of 
the Carlton Club. Mrs. Manners-Sutton is dead, but the 
Rev. Evelyn Burnaby* and Mrs. Duncan Baillie still 
survive. Sir Henry Colvile met his death in a motor 
accident on 25th November, 1907. Mr. T. Gibson 
Bowles, Lord Manners, Lord Dundonald, Lord Binning, 
Don Carlos (Duke of Madrid), Mr. Labouchere, the Earl 
of Erroll, Sir Benjamin and Lady Stone, Sir John 
Willoughby, and Mr. Joseph Rowlands are still with us, 
but Mr. J. Satchell Hopkins, Mr. W. Barton and Mr. W. 
H. Greening are gone. 

Burnaby's friendship with Mr. Bowles was one of those 
great friendships of which the history of the ages offers 
so few examples. Often and often Burnaby referred to 
the strength of the link that connected them ; and 
to Mr. Bowles's remarkable talents he paid many a glow- 
ing tribute. Mr. Bowles's present feelings towards 
Burnaby may be gauged by the letter given in our 

* Mr. Burnaby is a great lover of dogs, and his valuable Dandies are 
his constant companions. 


preface. In Somerby Church is a memorial window to 
Burnaby's memory, placed there by his widow — the 
subject being David and Jonathan ; and if you ask 
a villager about it he pulls a forelock and says, "It is 
understood that the Colonel had a very dear friend ; 
perhaps you could tell me who it was ? " 

Mr. Robert Buckley no longer hits on the head with 
chair leg or stick people with whom he has the misfortune 
to be politically at variance (indeed, we believe, he has 
for long taken no active part in politics), but as musical 
critic of the Birmingham Gazette, he still wields a weapon 
which, though smaller than either of those used in the 
riots, is far more effective, namely, his pen,* while he 
preserves with jealous care Colonel Burnaby's gift. 

Mr. Thomas Wright, the aeronaut, lives in retirement 
at Forest Gate, if retirement can be called a life of inces- 
sant activity. He still takes a lively interest in aeronaut- 
ics, and as recently as August 29th last year, he made an 
ascent with his friend, Mr. Percival Spencer, at Barking. 
Mr. Davie, an old retainer of the Burnaby family., resides 
at Somerby ; Henry Storeyj" — Burnaby's soldier servant 
— at Croxteth, near Liverpool. 

Our labour is almost ended, and yet to write upon such 
a man as Burnaby is not a labour at all, but rather a 
pleasant holiday spent in rare and stimulating company, 
and in a different period ; for Burnaby's atmosphere 
was that of a larger, broader, and more boisterous age. 
Friends of Burnaby, indeed — and especially those of the 
younger generation— look back upon him as in their child- 
hood they looked upon such heroes as Perseus and Her- 
cules. England has reason to be proud of him ; any 

* In 1893 he travelled 4,000 miles in Ireland and wrote for the Birming- 
ham Gazette 63 articles, which subsequently appeared in book form under 
the ■*itle of Ireland as it is, a work which drew encomiums from Lord 
Salisbury, Mr. Balfour, and Mr. Chamberlain ; while Mr. Gladstone 
called it " good literature." Mr. Buckley has also written a collection of 
stories published under the title of The Master Spy and a monograph on 
Sir Edward Elgar. 

f He left the Royal Horse Guards in 1898 after serving 21 years. 
Honours : — Egyptian Medal and Star, the Long Service Medal, King's 
Coronation Medal, Metropolitan Police Special Duty, 4 medals in all. 


man who has ever grasped his hand, or even merely heard 
his voice, may be pardoned for recalling the moment 
with self-gratulation, and I may fitly close the story of his 
life with a glowing encomium, written on the day when all 
the land was stirred by the news of his death. ' Queen 
Victoria " — and the words are taken from the Daily 
Telegraph of 22nd January 1885 — " had no more loyal 
subject, the army no finer officer, the country no truer 
patriot than Frederick Gustavus Burnaby. His name 
shall live in the annals of this Empire and in the memories 
of his compatriots as long as valour, devotion to duty, 
and faithfulness unto death, shall remain the watch- 
words of Englishmen." 







1. Letters to Vanity Fair, signed Convalescent, 1868 

and 1869. 

2. Letters to the Morning Post in 1869, and subse- 


3. Letters to The Times 1874. Written from Spain. 

4. Letters to The Times 1875. Written from the 


5. The Practical Instruction of Staff Officers in Foreign 

Armies (W. Mitchell & Co., 39, Charing Cross), 

6. A Ride to Khiva : Travels and Adventures in Central 

Asia (Cassell) 1876. 

7. On Horseback through Asia Minor (Sampson Low 

and Co., 1877), 7th Ed., with portrait and 
Memoir of Radford, 1878. 

8. Letters to the Times, 15th January, 1879, and 


9. Letters to the Birmingham Daily Gazette (in 1880 

and subsequently), and the Birmingham Post. 

10. A Ride Across the Channel and other Adventures - 

in the Air, 1882. Sampson Low & Co. 

11. The Life Adventures and Political Opinions of 

Frederick Gustavus Burnaby, by R. K. Mann 
(Revised by Burnaby). 

12. Possibilities of Ballooning. Fortnightly Review, 

May 1884. 

13. Our Radicals, 2 vols., 1886. Edited by Mr. Percival 






The High Alps in Winter. 1883. 

High Life and Towers of Silence. 1886. 

My Home in the Alps. 1892. 

Hints on Snow Photography. 1895. 

Cities and Sights of Spain. 1899. Two editions. 

True Tales of Mountain Adventure. 1903. 4th Ed. 1906. 

Adventures on the Roof of the World. 1904. Two 

The Story of an Alpine Winter. A novel. 
Illustration of The Art of Garden Design in Italy, by H. 

Inigo Triggs. Contributor to many magazines. 



burnaby's promotions. 

1859 Sept. 30 Cornet in the Royal Horse Guards 

1861 Sept. 27 Lieutenant 
1866 July 17 Captain 

1879 Sept. 11 Major 

1880 Lieutenant-Colonel 
1884 Colonel 



Some years ago at the sale of Berechurch Hill, Essex, 
the property of the Smythe family, the Rev. Paul Wyatt, 
of Austin Canons, Bedford, purchased an old Sheraton 
looking glass, and on examining one of the drawers he 


found at the bottom (outside) the following inscrip- 
tion : Frederick Villebois,* Charlotte Smyth, Maria 
Villebois, Harriet Villebois, Emma Blake, Emily Ville- 
bois, Henry Villebois. 

(Emma, Emily, Chariot te).f 
In infancy their hopes and fears 

Were to each other known, 
And friendship in their riper years 
Entwined their hearts in one. 




1868 Feb. 27 Disraeli 

1868 Dec. 9 Gladstone 

1874 Feb. 21 Disraeli, created Earl Beaconsfield in 

1880 Apl. 28 Gladstone 



William Brown 


Thomas Hanbury 


S. Rolleston (he was curate of Somerby from 

1851 to 1855) 


Gustavus A. Burnaby 


E. Pemberton 


T. C. Britten 


S. T. Mosse 


W. MacManus 


H. Webb-Smith 


George Edmund Britten 


* Mrs. Burnaby's brother. 

•f These words are enclosed in a line. 




1835 Gustavus Andrew Burnaby. 

1866 Septimus Rolleston. 

1871 William Hart-Smith. 

1899 Charles Wells. 

1904 John Ernest Gilbert. 



1. The Obelisk at Birmingham. 

In the graveyard of St. Philip's Church, Birmingham, 
is an obelisk to Burnaby's memory. At the base are 
four panels containing respeetively a bust of Burnaby, 
his name, " Khiva 1875 " and " Abou Klea 1885." 

2. The Memorial to Colonel Burnaby at Harrow School. 

In Memory of 

Fk. Gustavus Burnaby, 

Colonel, Royal Horse Guards, 

Born March 3rd, 1842, 

Killed in action at Abou Klea, Soudan, 

January 17th, 1885. 

3. Tivo Stained Glass Windows in Somerby Church. 

(1) Subject : David and Jonathan. 

Inscription : To the glory of God and in Memory of 
Frederick Gustavus Burnaby Colonel commanding the 
Royal Horse Guards, Blue, who fell at the battle of 
Abou Klea, January 17th, 1885. 

(2) Subject : Our Lord (centre light) with St. Stephen 
(left) and St. Paul (right). 

Inscription : Erected by friends in memory of Colonel 
Fred Burnaby. 


4. Stained Glass Window in St. Peter's Church, Bedford. 

5. Two Tablets in Holy Trinity Church, Windsor. 

(1) Erected by the late Rector, the Rev. Arthur Robins. 
It consists of a stone cross let into the chancel wall 
and fixed upon pieces of rock, bearing the following 
inscription : 

Sacred to the memory of 

Frederick Gustavus Burnaby, 

Colonel of the Royal Regiment of Horse Guards (Blues). 

He was killed whilst courageously fighting in the little 

square at Abou Klea, in the Soudan, on the 17th 

January, 1885, in the 43rd year of his age. 
(2) A marble tablet placed on the wall by the officers 
of the Blues. 

In memory of 

Colonel Frederick Gustavus Burnaby, 

Commanding officer of the Royal Horse Guards, 

Who was hilled in the battle of Abu Klea, in the Soudan, 

17th January, 1885, and of the following officers and men 

of the Royal Horse Guards : 

{Here follow their names) 

This tablet ivas erected by Field Marshall H.R.H. the 
Prince of Wales, K.G., Colonel-in- Chief of the Household 
Cavalry, Field Marshall Lord Strathnairn, G.C.B., 
Colonel of the Royal Horse Guards, Colonel Milne-Home, 
and the officers of the Royal Horse Guards, ivith many 
others who had formerly served in the Regiment. 


Absalom, 200. 

Abbacca, 5. 

You'll Vote for Stuart, 6. 

I won't be a parson, 1 1 . 

The Goose, 22. 

Sensation in Church, 26. 

Burnaby and the Ponies, 35. 

The biggest nuisance, 40. 

Mr. Frewin falls on his head, 41. 

The Dancing Girls, 57. 

Doctors in heaven, 63. 

His hands frost bitten, 93. 

The plaster, 126. 

He prescribes for a Persian 
lady, 128. 

Will sit for a week, 157. 

The Poster, 157. 

The Funny Ones, 163. 

Pitches a man over a gateway, 

The Scavenger, 213. 

One's Liver, 214. 

Harry Burnaby, 228. 

I'm a sweep, 233. 

The football match, 305. 
Aston Park Riots, 239. 

Baker Pasha, 133 ; at El Teb, 

Beaconsfield (Lord), 141. 

Bedford, 1. 6, 7, 11, 15, 19; a 
descent at, 33 ; a tribute to, 51 ; 
Mr. Wright's ascent at, 193 ; 
Good - bye to Bedford, 261 ; 
honours the memory of Burna- 
by. 307. 

Binning (Lieut-Col. Lord), his 
plan of the square, 269 ; his 
portrait, 279 ; in the square, 
289 ; with the dying Burnaby, 
293 ; his graphic account of the 
Battle, 298 ; his reminiscences 
of Burnaby, 304. 

Birmingham. Election, The, 167 ; 
Burnaby's Speeches at, 204 ; 
the Burnaby Obelisk, 307. 

Borthwick (Sir A), 187. 

Bowles (Mr. T. G.), 47, 58, 131, 
255, 261, 309. 

Boyle (Rev. John), 26. 

Brine (Colonel), 177, 182. 

Bristol, Burnaby at, 205. 

Britten (Rev. G. E.), 41. 

Bright (Mr. John), 154, 173. 

Bryne (General Sir Owen), 61, 62. 

Buckley (Mr. Robert J.), 154 ; 
clears the platform, 239 ; por- 
trait, 249 ; Burnaby's letter to 
him, 243 ; Burnaby's present to, 
247 ; on Burnaby, 252 ; his 
works, 310. 

Buller (Sir Redvers), 267. 

Burleigh (Mr. Bennet), 181 ; calls 
on Burnaby, 188 ; at El Teb, 
224 ; at Abou Klea, 286 ; at 
Gubat, 294. 

Burnaby (Annie), 2, 20, 132, 309. 

Burnaby (Rev. Evelyn), 2. 27, 
and the Pole, 46 ; loses his 
wife, 67 ; with Fred in St. 
James's Street, 188 ; at Tun- 
bridge Wells, 214, 255, 256 ; his 
dogs, 309. 

Burnaby (Rev. Gustavus), 1 : Re- 
moves to Somerby, 39 ; Death, 


Burnaby (Mrs. Gustavus), 1, 63; 
appendix, IV. 

Burnaby (Fred). His birthplace, 
1 ; his boyhood, 11 ; Writes 
doggerel, 16 ; at Tinwell, 19 ; at 
Harrow, 20 ; Writes to Punch, 
2r ; at Oswestry, 22 ; the Goose, 
22 ; at Dresden, 25 ; ascends at 
Cremorne, 29 ; feats of strength, 
34 ; accident in the air, 42 ; at 
Pau, 48 ; in Seville, 50 ; as a 
Troubadour, 51 ; in Morocco, 
56 ; in Russia, 59 ; at Naples, 
64 ; in Seville. 67 ; with the Car- 
lists, 68 ; ascends in Mr. 
Wright's balloon, 80 ; hisjourney 
to Sobat, 81 ; his journey to 
Khiva, 87 ; ascends with Mr. 
Lucy, 109 ; ascends with Mr. 
Wright, in ; journey through 




Burnaby — Cont. 
Asia Minor, 115; adventures in 
Turkey, 133 ; at Radford's 
funeral. 142 ; candidate for Bir- 
mingham, 146 ; crosses the 
Channel by balloon, 179 ; his 
telegram to Mr. Wright, 1S7 ; 
proposes to ascend at Bedford, 
193 ; with Mr. Deutsch in Spain, 

197 ; speeches at Birmingham, 
204 ; at El Teb, 216 ; at Wady 
Haifa, 262 ; at Dal, 264 ; his 
last letter, 266 ; at Abou Klea, 
271 ; killed, 289 ; Bibliography 
appendix, i. ; memorials to, ap- 
pendix, viii. 

Burnaby (Mrs. Fred), 158; her 
book, The High Alps in Winter, 

198 ; Burnaby's letters to her, 
262 to 266 ; her works, 308 ; and 
appendix, ii. 

Burnaby (Harry), 173, 228, 261. 
Burnaby (May), 2, 20, 309. 
Burnand (Sir Francis), 200. 

Calthorpe (Lord), 148. 
Carlos (Don), 67, 69, 308. 
Chamberlain (Mr. Joseph), 154, 

159, 204, 244, 307/ 
Churchill (Lord Randolph) , 209 ; 

his letter to Mr. J. B. Stone, 

2ii ; at Birmingham, 236; in 

America, 256. 
Cockle's Pills, 192. 
" Cocky," 47. 

Colvile (Sir Henry), 109, 309. 
Cook (Mr. J. M ), 263. 
County Hunt, The, 16. 
Coxwell (Mr. Henry), 29, 175. 

Daily Chronicle, 296. 

Daily News, 33, 193, 296. 

Daily Telegraph, 35, 181, 191, 296, 

Dart, The, 153; Cartoons from, 159, 
163. 169, 171, 189, 225, 237, 241, 
245. 283. 

Devil Worshippers, 126. 

Dundonald (Lord), 285, 293, 

Durouf (Monsieur), 174. 

El Teb, 1st battle, 215. 
El Teb, 2nd battle. 221. (Mr.), 39, 41. 

Garden of Eden, 125. 

Gipsy Dance, A, 122. 

Gladstone (Mr. W. G.), 153, 235. 

Glaisher (Mr. James), 29. 

Godard (M. Jean), 30. 

Godfrey (Rev. N. S.) 12. 

Gordon, 85, 230. 

Graham (General) 222. 

Greening (Mr. W. H.), 153, 165, 

Graphic, 273. 

Hughes (Mr. J. Percival), 253, 

Ilbert Bill, 206. 

Illustrated London News, 275, 294. 

Judy, on Burnaby, 192. 

Leicester, Burnaby at, 164, 


Letters (Burnaby's) : to his sister 
Annie, 130 ; Birmingham Daily 
Gazette, 147, 168 ; Birmingham 
Post, 147 ; Mr. Buckley, 243 ; 
Mrs. Burnaby, 262 to 267 ; his 
brother Evelyn, 67 ; his father, 
20, 25, 26, 59, 60 , Morning Post 
59; his mother, 125; his rela- 
tions, 81, 141, 197 ; Messrs. 
Sampson Low & Co., 256; 
Stafford House Committee, 134 ; 
Times, 59, 81 ; Vanity Fair, 48, 
56, 147: Mr. Wright, 76, 80, 
in, 180, 193, 194. 

Levy (Mr. Lawrence), 35. 

Livius (Mr. G. P.), 6. 

Lucy (Mr. W. H), rog, 200. 

Mahiii, The, 230, 294. 

Marling (Lieut. Percival), 271, 


Mohammed, 123. 

Morning Post, 59, Go, 187, 294. 

Murray (George), of the Scots 
Greys, Preface xii., 272, por- 
trait 295. 

Murray (Thomas), .'85, 294. 


Nadar (Monsieur), 29 
Nutt (Mr. Alfred), 19. 
Nutt (Rev. Robert), 19, 213. 
Nutt (Mr. Henry), 19. 
Nutt (Rev. W. Y.), 19, 213. 

Old Age Pensions, 127. 

Osman, 116. 

Owl, The, 153, 158 ; Cartoons from, 


Page (Mrs.), 12. 

Payne (Corporal J. R.), 285. 

Payne (Mr. John), Sonnet to 

Burnaby, xxiv. 
Powell (Mr. Walter), 17-1, 175, 

death of, 176. 
Preston, Burnaby at, 206, 
Primrose League, Founding of, 

Prince of Wales (King Edward 

VII.), 36, 6i, 158, appendix via 
Prior (Mr. Melton), 223, 224, 236, 

Pritchard (Mr. Joseph), 262, 267. 
Prowse(Mr. J. W.), 31. 
Punch on Burnaby, 192, 231, 307. 

Radford (George), 64, 70, 73, 
his marvellous escape 74, with 
Burnaby in Asia Minor 115, 
dies 142, visit to his grave 181. 

Rose (Mr. Robert), 7, 26. 

Rose (Miss Emma) 8, 15. 

Rowlands (Mr. Joseph), 236, 239, 

245. 3°9- 

Sampson Low & Co., 131, 188, 

Sawyer (Sir James), 249 
Schnadhorst (Mr. F.), 189. 
Schwalbach, 45. 
Simmons (Mr. Joseph), 177. 
Somerby, 2, 15; who stole the 

bell? 41; Burnaby's last days 

at, 248. 

Sparkbrook Club, 154. 

Stone (Sir Benjamin), 147, 158 ; 
his letter respecting the Prim- 
rose League, 209, 309. 

Stone (Lady), 158. 309. 

Sly (Mrs.), 248, 251. 

Spencer (Mr. Percival), 76, 310. 

Standard, 73, 294. 

Storey (Henry), 180; his miracu- 
lous escape at El Teb, 218, 310. 

Strathnairn (Lord), 61, 62. 

Tashkesen, Battle of, 135. 
Telegram trouble, 187. 
Templer (Captain), 76, 176, 195. 
Times, The, Letters to, 59, 7°. *37- 
Tinwell, 19. 

Vanity Fair, 47, 106. 

Westcar, (Lieutenant), 33, 45. 

Whitshed (Lady), 261. 

Wolfe (Sir H. D.), 209, 212. 

Wolverhampton, Burnaby at, 163. 

Wolseley (Lord), 297. 

Wright (Mr. Thomas), the aero- 
naut ; Burnaby writes to him, 
75 ; his first ascent, 76 ; lends 
Burnaby his balloons, 79, 109 ; 
his anchor, in ; ascends with 
Burnaby, in, 173; wins race 
in the Owl, 174 ; his race with 
M. de Fonvielle, 175 ; ascends 
with Mr. Walter Powell, 175 ; 
Captain Templer's letter to 
him, 176 ; with Burnaby at 
Dover, 180, 186 ; looks over 
Burnaby's book, 188 ; ascends 
at Bedford 193, 196 ; nis bal ~ 
loon The Gem, 204 ; in retire- 
ment, 310. 

Yellow Jug, 284. 

Wm. J. McKcnzic, The Devonshire Press, Torquay 


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